Roman antiquities 7.1
After Titus Geganius Macerinus and Publius Minucius had entered upon their consulship, Rome suffered from a great scarcity of corn, which had its origin in the secession. For the populace seceded from the patricians after the autumnal equinox, just about the beginning of seed,time, and the husbandmen left their farms at the time of this uprising and divided, the more prosperous joining the patricians, while the labourers went over to the plebeians; and from that time the two classes remained aloof from each other till the commonwealth was composed and reunited, the reconciliation being effected not long before the winter solstice. During that interval, which is the season in which all pointing of corn is best done, the land was destitute of people to cultivate it, and remained so for a long time. So that even when the husbandmen returned, it was no longer easy for them to bring it back under cultivation, inasmuch as it had suffered both from the desertion of slaves and the loss of animals with which they were to cultivate it, and as few of the husbandmen had any store of grain on hand for the next year for either seed or food. The senate, being informed of this, sent ambassadors to the Tyrrhenians and to the Campanians and also to the Pomptine plain, as it is called, to buy up all the corn they could, while Publius Valerius and Lucius Geganius were sent to Sicily; Valerius was a son of Publicola, and Geganius was brother to one of the consuls. Tyrants ruled in the various cities at that time, and the most illustrious was Gelon, the son of Deinomenes, who had lately succeeded to the tyranny of Hippocrates, not Dionysius of Syracuse, as Licinius and Gellius and many others of the Roman historians have stated, without having made any careful investigation of the dates involved, as the facts show of themselves, but rashly relating the first account that offered itself. For the embassy appointed to go to Sicily set sail in the second year of the seventy,second Olympiad, when Hybrilides was archon at Athens, seventeen years after the expulsion of the kings, as these and almost all the other historians agree; whereas Dionysius the Elder, having made an uprising against the Syracusans in the eighty,fifth year after this, possessed himself of the tyranny in the third year of the ninety,third Olympiad, Callias, the successor of Antigenes, being then archon at Athens. Now an error of a few years in their dates might be allowed to historians who are composing works dealing with ancient events extending over many years, but a deviation from the truth by two or three generations would not be permissible. But it is probable that the first writer to record this event in his annals whom all the rest then followed − finding in the ancient records only this, that ambassadors were sent under these consuls to Sicily to buy corn and returned from thence with the present of corn which the tyrant had given them, did not proceed further to discover from the Greek historians who was tyrant of Sicily at that time, but without examination and at random set down Dionysius.
Roman antiquities 7.2
The ambassadors who were sailing to Sicily, having met with a storm at sea and being obliged to sail round the island, were a long time in reaching the tyrant; then, after spending the winter season there, they returned to Italy in the summer bringing with them a great quantity of provisions. But those who had been sent to the Pomptine plain came very near being put to death by the Volscians as spies, the Roman exiles having accused them of being such. And having with very great difficulty been able to escape with their lives, through the zealous efforts of their personal friends there, they returned to Rome without their funds and without having effected anything. The same fate happened to those who went to Cumae. For many Roman exiles who had escaped with Tarquinius from the last battle, and were now residing in that city, at first endeavoured to prevail upon the tyrant to deliver up the ambassadors to them to be put to death; and when they failed to gain this request, they asked that they might detain their persons as pledges till they should receive from the city that had sent them their own fortunes, which they declared had been unjustly confiscated by the Romans; and they thought it proper that the tyrant should be the judge of their cause. The tyrant of Cumae at that time was Aristodemus, the son of Aristocrates, a man of no obscure birth, who was called by the citizens Malacus or "Effeminate" − a nickname which in time came to be better known than his own name − either because when a boy he was effeminate and allowed himself to be treated as a woman, as some relate, or because he was of a mild nature and slow to anger, as others state. It seems to me that it is not out of place to interrupt my account of Roman affairs at this point for a short time in order to relate briefly what opportunities he had to seek the tyranny, by what methods he attained to it, how he conducted the government, and to what end he came.
Roman antiquities 7.3
In the sixty fourth Olympiad, when Miltiades was archon at Athens, the Tyrrhenians who had inhabited the country lying near the Ionian Gulf, but had been driven from thence in the course of time by the Gauls, joined themselves to the Umbrians, Daunians, and many other barbarians, and undertook to overthrow Cumae, the Greek city in the country of the Opicans founded by Eretrians and Chalcidians, though they could allege no other just ground for their animosity than the prosperity of the city. For Cumae was at that time celebrated throughout all Italy for its riches, power, and all the other advantages, as it possessed the most fertile part of the Campanian plain and was mistress of the most convenient havens round about Misenum. The barbarians, accordingly, forming designs upon these advantages, marched against this city with an army consisting of no less than 500,000 foot and 8,000 horse. While they lay encamped not far from the city,
a remarkable prodigy appeared to them, the like of which is not recorded as ever having happened anywhere in either the Greek or the barbarian world. The rivers, namely, which ran near their camp, one of which is called the Volturnus and the other the Glanis, abandoning their natural course, turned their streams backwards and for a long time continued to run up from their mouths toward their sources.
The Cumaeans, being informed of this prodigy, were then at last encouraged to engage with the barbarians, in the assurance that Heaven designed to bring low the lofty eminence of their foes and to raise their own fortunes, which seemed at low ebb. And having divided all their youth into three bodies, with one of these they defended the city, with another they guarded their ships, and the third they drew up before the walls to await the enemy's attack. These consisted of 600 horse and of 4500 foot. And though so few in number, they sustained the attack of so many myriads.
Roman antiquities 7.4
When the barbarians learned that they were ready to fight, they uttered their war cry and came to close quarters, in the barbarian fashion, without any order, the horse and the foot intermingled, in the expectation of utterly annihilating them. The place before the city where they engaged was a narrow defile surrounded by mountains and lakes, a terrain favourable to the valour of the Cumaeans and unfavourable to the multitude of the barbarians. For they were knocked down and trampled upon by one another in many parts of the field, but particularly around that the marshy edges of the lake, so that the greater part of them were destroyed by their own forces without even engaging the battle line of the Greeks. Thus their huge army of foot defeated itself, and without performing any brave action dispersed and fled in every direction. The horse, however, engaged and gave the Greeks great trouble; yet being unable to surround their enemies by reason of the narrow space, and Heaven also rendering the Greeks some assistance with lightning, rain and thunder, they were seized with fear and turned to flight. In this action all the Cumaean horse fought brilliantly, and they were allowed to have been the chief cause of the victory; but Aristodemus, nicknamed Malacus, distinguished himself above all the rest, for he alone sustained the attack of the enemy and slew their general as well as many other brave men. When the war was at an end and the Cumaeans had offered sacrifices to the gods in thanksgiving for their victory and had given a splendid burial to those who had been slain in the battle, they fell into great strife concerning the prize for valour, disputing to whom they ought to award the first crown. For the impartial judges wished to bestow this honour upon Aristodemus, and the people were all on his side; but the men in power desired to confer it upon Hippomedon, the commander of the horse, and the whole senate championed his cause. The Cumaeans were at that time governed by an aristocracy, and the people were not in control of many matters. And when a sedition arose because of this strife, the older men, fearing that the rivalry might proceed to arms and bloodshed, prevailed on both parties to consent that each of the men should receive equal honours. From this beginning Aristodemus became a champion of the people, and having cultivated proficiency in political oratory, he seduced the mob by his harangues, improved their condition by popular measures, exposed the powerful men who were appropriating the public property, and relieved many of the poor with his own money. By this means he became both odious and formidable to the leading men of the aristocracy.
Roman antiquities 7.5
In the twentieth year after the engagement with the barbarians ambassadors from the Aricians came to the Cumaeans with the tokens of suppliants to beg their assistance against the Tyrrhenians who were making war upon them. For, as I related in an earlier book, Porsena, king of the Tyrrhenians, after making peace with Rome, had sent out his son Arruns with one half of the army when the youth desired to acquire a dominion for himself. Arruns, then, at the time in question was besieging the Aricians, whom he had forced to take refuge inside their walls, and he expected to capture the city soon by famine. When this embassy arrived, the leading men of the aristocracy, who hated Aristodemus and feared he might do some harm to the established government, thought they had got a very fine opportunity to get rid of him under a specious pretence. They accordingly persuaded the people to send two thousand men to the aid of the Aricians and appointed Aristodemus as general, ostensibly because of his brilliant military achievements; after which they took such measures as they supposed would result in his either being destroyed in battle by the Tyrrhenians or perishing at sea. For being empowered by the senate to raise the forces that were to be sent as auxiliaries, they enrolled no men of distinction or reputation; but choosing out the poorest and the most unprincipled of the common people from whom they were under continual apprehension of some uprisings, they made up out of these the complement of men who were to be sent upon the exception. And launching ten old ships that were most unseaworthy and were commanded by the poorest of the Cumaeans, they embarked the forces on board these ships, threatening with death anyone who should fail to enlist.
Roman antiquities 7.6
Aristodemus, merely remarking that he was not ignorant of the purpose of his enemies, namely, that in word they were sending him to the assistance of the Aricians, but in fact to manifest destruction, accepted the command, and hastily setting sail with the ambassadors of the Aricians, and accomplishing the voyage over the intervening sea with great difficulty and danger, came to anchor at points along the coast nearest to Aricia. And leaving a sufficient number of men on board to guard the ships, on the first night he made the march, which was not a long one, from the sea to the city and appeared unexpectedly to the inhabitants at dawn. Then, encamping near the city and persuading the citizens who had fled for refuge inside the walls to come out into the open, he promptly challenged the Tyrrhenians to battle. And a sharp engagement ensuing, the Aricians after a very short resistance all gave way and again fled inside the walls. But Aristodemus with a small body of chosen Cumaeans sustained the united shock of the enemy, and having slain the general of the Tyrrhenians with his own hand, put the rest to flight and gained the most glorious of all victories. After he had performed these achievements and been honoured with many presents by the Aricians, he sailed home immediately, desiring to be himself the messenger to the Cumaeans of his victory. He was followed by a great number of merchantmen belonging to the Aricians, laden with the spoils and prisoners taken from the Tyrrhenians. When they arrived near Cumae, he brought his ships to shore, and assembling his army, inveighed vehemently against the chief men of the city and bestowed many praises upon the soldiers who had distinguished themselves in the battle; and having given money to every one of them man by man and placed at the joint disposal of all of them the presents he had received from the Aricians, he asked that they should remember these favours when they returned home, and if he should be threatened with any danger from the oligarchy, that every one of them should assist him to the utmost of his power. Then, when all acknowledged themselves to be under great obligations to him, not only for their unexpected preservation which they owed to him, but also for their not returning home with empty hands, and promised to sacrifice their own lives sooner than to abandon him to their enemies, he commended them and dismissed the assembly. After this he called into his tent those among them who were the most unprincipled and the most daring in action, and by means of largesses, fair words, and hopes which seduce all men, he bribed them in readiness to assist him in overthrowing the established government.
Roman antiquities 7.7
After he had secured these men as his assistants and participants with him in the struggle, and had acquainted each one with the part he was to play, and furthermore had set at liberty without ransom all the prisoners he was bringing along, in order to gain their goodwill also, he sailed with his ships decked out into the harbours of Cumae. When the soldiers disembarked, they were met by their fathers and mothers and all the rest of their kinsmen, their children and their wedded wives, who embraced them with tears and kisses and called each of them by the most endearing terms. And all the other citizens, receiving the general with joy and applause, conducted him to his house. But the chief men of the city, particularly those who had given him the command and concerted the other measures for his destruction, were vexed at these manifestations and felt sinister apprehensions regarding the future. Aristodemus allowed a few days to pass, during which he performed his vows to the gods and waited for the merchantmen that were late in arriving, and then, when the proper time came, he said he desired to give the senate an account of the circumstances of the battle and to show them the spoils taken in the war. Then, the authorities having assembled in great numbers, he came forward and made a speech, in which he related everything that had happened in the battle; and while he was speaking, the accomplices in the plot with whom he had arranged matters rushed into the senate house in a body with swords under their garments and killed all the members of the aristocracy. Thereupon there ensued a flight of those who were in the forum and a rush of some to their houses and of others away from the city, except of such as were privy to the conspiracy; the latter in mean time captured the citadel, the dockyards, and the strong places of the city. The following night he released from the prisons all who were under sentence of death, of whom there were many, arming them together with his friends, among whom were the Tyrrhenian prisoners, he formed out of these a bodyguard for himself. When it was day, he assembled the people and after inveighing at length against the citizens who had been put to death by his orders, he said that those men, having often sought his life, had been justly punished by him, but that, as for the rest of the citizens, he had come to give them liberty, equal rights of speech, and many other advantages.
Roman antiquities 7.8
When he had said this and thereby filled all the common people with wonderful hopes, he established two institutions which are the worst of all human institutions and the prologues to every tyranny − a redistribution of the land and an abolition of debts. He promised that he would take upon himself the care of both these matters if he were appointed general with absolute power till the public tranquillity should be secured and they had established a democratic constitution. When the common people and the unprincipled rabble gladly accepted the proposal to pillage the goods of other men, Aristodemus conferred upon himself the supreme command, and proposed another measure by which he deceived them and deprived them all of their liberty. For pretending to suspect that the rich would raise disturbances and insurrections against the common people on account of the redistribution of the land and the abolition of debts, he said the only means he could think of to prevent a civil war and the slaughter of citizens and to guard against these miseries before they happened, was for all of them to bring the arms out of their houses and to consecrate them to the gods, in order that they might make use of them against foreign enemies who should attack them, whenever the necessity should arise, and not against one another, and that in the mean time they would be suitably placed in the keeping of the gods. When they agreed to this also, he disarmed all the Cumaeans that very day, and during the following days he searched their houses, where he put to death many worthy citizens, alleging that they had not produced all their arms for the gods. After this he strengthened his tyranny by three sorts of guards. The first consisted of the filthiest and the most unprincipled of the citizens, by whose aid he had overthrown the aristocracy; the second, of the most impious knaves, whom he himself had freed for having killed their masters; and the third, a mercenary force, consisting of the most average barbarians, who amounted to no fewer than two thousand and were far better soldiers than any of the rest. He destroyed the statues of those he had put to death in all places both sacred and profane and set up his own in their stead; and seizing their houses and lands and the rest of their fortunes, he reserved for himself the gold and silver and everything else that was worthy of a tyrant, and divided the remainder among those who had aided him in gaining his power. But the most numerous and the largest gifts he made to the slaves who had killed their masters. Thereupon these insisted also on marrying the wives and daughters of their late masters.
Roman antiquities 7.9
At first he paid no attention to the male children of those who had been put to death, but afterwards, either at the direction of some oracle or influenced also by the reflection he any naturally make, that in them no small danger was being secretly reared up against him, he resolved to destroy them all in one day. But at the earnest entreaties of all the men with whom the children's mothers were living and the children themselves were being brought up, since he wished to grant them this favour also, he saved them from death, contrary to his intention. Taking precautions, however, against them, lest they should combine together and conspire against his tyranny, he ordered them all to depart from the city and to live in the country dispersed here and there, receiving instruction in no profession or branch of learning becoming to the children of freemen, but tending flocks and performing the other labours of the husbandmen; and he threatened with death anyone of them who should be found in the city. These children, accordingly, forsaking the houses of their fathers, were brought up in the country like slaves, serving the murderers of their fathers. And to the end that no noble or manly spirit might spring up in any of the rest of the citizens, he resolved to make effeminate by means of their upbringing all the youths who were being reared in the city, and with that view he suppressed the gymnasiums and the practice of arms and changed the manner of life previously followed by the children. For he ordered the boys to wear their hair long like the girls, to adorn it with flowers, to keep it curled and to bind up the tresses with hair nets, to wear embroidered robes that reached down to their feet, and, over these, thin and soft mantles, and to pass their lives in the shade. And when they went to the schools kept by dancing masters, flute players and others who, like these, pay court to the Muses, their governesses attended them, taking along parasols and fans; and these women bathed them, carrying into the baths combs, alabaster pots filled with perfumes, and looking glasses. By such training he continued to enervate the youth till they had completed their twentieth year, and from that time permitted them to be considered as men. Having by these and many other methods abused and insulted the Cumaeans without refraining from any kind of lust or cruelty, when he thought himself secure in the possession of the tyranny, being now grown old, he was punished to the satisfaction of both gods and men and extirpated with all his family.
Roman antiquities 7.10
Those who rose against him and freed their country from his tyranny were the sons of the citizens he had murdered, all of whom he had at first resolved to put to death in one day, but being prevailed upon by the entreaties of his bodyguards, to whom he had given their mothers, had refrained, as I said, and ordered them to live in the country. A few years later, as he was making a progress through the villages, he saw a large number of these youths, who made a brave appearance; and fearing they might conspire together and rise against him, he purposed to forestall them by putting them all to death before any one should be aware of his intention. Assembling his friends, accordingly, he considered with them how the youths might most easily and speedily be put to death in secret. The youths, being apprised of this, either by the information of some person who was acquainted with his purpose, or suspecting it themselves by reasoning from probabilities, fled to the mountains, taking with them the iron implements they used in husbandry. They were speedily joined by the Cumaean exiles who resided in Capua, most distinguished of whom and possessing the largest number of friends among the Campanians were the sons of Hippomedon, who had been commander of the horse in the war against the Tyrrhenians. These were not only well armed themselves, but also brought with them arms for the youths as well as a goodly band of Campanian mercenaries and of their own friends which they had raised. When they had all united, they made descents after the manner of brigands and plundered the lands of their enemies, lured the slaves away from their masters, released the men confined in prisons and armed them, and whatever they could not carry or drive off they either burnt or killed. While the tyrant was at a loss to know in what manner he ought to make war upon them, because they neither made their attempts openly nor stayed long in the same places, but timed their raids either from the fall of night to the break of day or from daybreak to nightfall, and after he had often sent out the soldiers to the relief of the country in vain, one of the fugitives, sent by the rest in the guise of a deserter, came to him, his body torn with whips, and after suing for impunity, promised the tyrant to conduct any troops he should think fit to send with him to the place where the fugitives proposed to encamp the following night. The tyrant, being induced to trust this man, who asked nothing and offered his own person as a hostage, sent his most trusted commanders at the head of a large number of horse and the band of mercenaries with orders to bring to him in chains all the fugitives if they could, otherwise as many of them as possible. The pretended deserter then led the army during the whole night through untrodden paths and lonely woods, where they suffered greatly, till they came to the regions that were most remote from the city.
Roman antiquities 7.11
In the meantime the rebels and fugitives, who lay in ambush on the mountain which lies near Lake Avernus and not far from Cumae, when they learned from the signals made by their scouts that the tyrant's army had marched out of the city, sent thither about sixty of the most resolute of their number, clad in goatskins and carrying faggots of brushwood. These men contrived to steal into the city by various gates about the time for lighting the lamps, being taken for labourers and thus escaping detection. Once inside the walls, they drew out the swords they had concealed in the faggots and all met in one place. And proceeding thence in a body to the gate that led to Lake Avernus, they killed the guards while they were asleep, and, all their own force, having by this time arrived near the walls, they opened the gates and received them into the city. All this they did without being discovered. For that night there happened to be a public festival; hence the whole population of the city was occupied in drinking and other pleasures. This afforded the fugitives an opportunity of marching through all the streets that led to the tyrant's palace without meeting any opposition; and even at the palace doors they did not find any considerable number of guards on the alert, but here also some were already asleep and others drunk, and these they killed without any difficulty. Then, rushing into the palace in a body, they found all the rest no longer masters of either their bodies or their wits because of wine, and they cut their throats as if they were so many sheep. And having seized Aristodemus himself with his children and the rest of his relations, they tore their bodies with whips and tortures until late in the night, and after inflicting on them almost every kind of punishment they put them to death. Having wiped out the whole family of the tyrant, so as to leave neither children, wives, nor anyone related to them, and having spent the whole night in hunting down all the abetters of the tyranny, as soon as it was day, they proceeded to the forum. Then, calling the people together, they laid down their arms and restored the traditional government.
Roman antiquities 7.12
It was before this Aristodemus, then, when he had already reigned as tyrant of Cumae close to fourteen years, that the Roman exiles with Tarquinius presented themselves, asking him to decide heir cause against the country. The Roman ambassadors opposed this for some time, alleging that they had not come to enter into a contest of this sort and had no authority to plead the cause for the commonwealth since the senate had entrusted no such power to them. But when they availed naught with their plea and they saw the tyrant inclined to the other side because of the earnestness and entreaties of the exiles, they desired time to prepare a defence. And having deposited a sum of money as a pledge for their appearance, in the interval while the suit was pending and they were no longer guarded, they fled; whereupon the tyrant seized their servants, their pack animals, and the money they had brought with them to purchase corn. It was the fate of these embassies, then, after being treated in the manner I have related, to return without having accomplished anything. But the ambassadors who had been sent to the cities in Tyrrhenia bought there a quantity of millet and spelt and brought it down to Rome in river boats. This supply sustained the Romans for a short time, but its exhaustion brought them to the same straits as before. There was no sort of food to which men have ever been reduced through necessity that they did not venture to try; and it happened that not a few of them, by reason both of the scarcity and of the strangeness of the unaccustomed food, were either weakened in body or were neglected because of their poverty and entirely helpless. When the Volscians, who had been recently conquered in war, became aware of this, they undertook by means of embassies sent out secretly to incite one another to war against the Romans, in the belief that if anyone should attack them while they were distressed both by war and famine, they would be unable to resist. But some benevolence of the gods, who were always careful not to permit the Romans to become subject to their enemies, manifested its power upon this occasion also in a most conspicuous manner. For so great a pestilence suddenly descended upon the cities of the Volscians as is not recorded to have occurred anywhere else in either the Greek or the barbarian world, destroying the people without distinction of age, condition, or sex, it mattered not whether their bodies were strong or weak. The extreme nature of the calamity was shown in the case of an important city of the Volscians named Velitrae, till then a large and populous place, of which the plague left but one person out of every ten, attacking and carrying off all the rest. At last those who survived the calamity sent ambassadors to the Romans to inform them of their desolation and to deliver up their city to them. They had even before that time received a colony from Rome, for which reason they now desired colonists to be sent to them a second time.
Roman antiquities 7.13
When the Romans learned of this, they felt compassion for their misfortunes and thought they ought to retain no resentment against their enemies when under so severe an affliction, since they had sufficiently atoned to the gods for what they had been intending to do. As to the city of Velitrae, they thought proper to accept it and to send a large colony thither, in consideration of the many advantages that would result to them from that measure. For the place itself, if occupied by an adequate garrison, seemed capable of proving a serious check and hindrance to the designs of any who might be disposed to begin a rebellion or create any disturbance, and it was expected that the scarcity of provisions under which the city then laboured would be far less serious if a considerable part of the citizens removed elsewhere. But, above all other considerations, the sedition which was now flaring up again, before the former one was as yet satisfactorily appeased, induced them to vote to send out the colony. For once more the plebeians were becoming inflamed, as before, and growing exasperated against the patricians, were uttering many harsh words against them, some accusing them of neglect and indolence in not having long foreseen the scarcity of corn that was to occur, and taken the necessary precautions to avert the calamity, and others declaring that the scarcity had been brought about by their contrivance, because of their resentment and a desire to injure the plebeians when they remembered their secession. For these reasons the colony was sent out promptly, three persons being appointed by the senate to be the leaders of it. The plebeians were pleased at first that lands were to be allotted to colonists, since they would thus be freed from the famine and inhabit a fertile country; but afterwards, when they bethought themselves of the pestilence which had raged violently in the city that was to receive them and had not only destroyed the inhabitants, but gave room to fear that it would treat the new settlers in the same manner, their feelings were gradually reversed. Consequently those who offered themselves to join the colony were not many, but far fewer than the senate had decreed; and these, moreover, were already blaming themselves for having been ill advised and were endeavouring to avoid going out. However, this element was included and likewise the others who had not willingly joined the colony, the senate having ordered that all the Romans should draw lots for completing the colony, and having fixed severe and inexorable penalties for those upon whom the lot fell, if they did not go. This colony, then, was sent to Velitrae after being recruited by a specious compulsion; and not many days after another colony was sent to Norba, which is no mean city of the Latins.
Roman antiquities 7.14
But nothing turned out according to the calculations of the patricians, insofar at least as their hope of appeasing the sedition was concerned; on the contrary, the people who were left at home were now more exasperated than before and clamoured violently against the senators in their groups and clubs. They met in small numbers at first, but afterwards, as the dearth became more severe, they assembled in a body, and rushing all together into the Forum, cried out for the tribunes. And these having assembled the people, Spurius Sicinius, who was then at the head of their college, came forward and not only inveighed at length against the senate himself, inflaming the hatred of the people against them as much as he could, but also demanded that the others should express their sentiments publicly, especially Sicinius and Brutus, who were then aediles, calling upon each of them by name; they had been the authors of the first secession of the people as well, and having introduced the tribunician power, had been the first to be invested with it. These, having long before prepared the most malicious speeches, came forward and enlarged upon those points that were welcome to the multitude, alleging that the dearth of corn had been occasioned by the contrivance and treachery of the rich, against whose will the people had acquired the liberty by the secession. And they declared that the rich did not in the least bear an equal share of this calamity with the poor, since they had not only provisions secretly hoarded up, but also money to purchase imported foodstuffs, and thus could treat the calamity with fine scorn, whereas the plebeians had neither resource. As regarded the colony which they had sent out to a pestilential region, they declared it was a banishment to a manifest and much worse destruction; and exaggerating the evils with all their powers of speech, they asked to be informed what end there was to be of their miseries. They reminded them of the abusive treatment they had formerly received from the rich, and recounted many other things of this nature with great freedom. Finally, Brutus closed his speech with some such threats as this, that, if they would follow his advice, he would soon compel those who had kindled this mischief to extinguish it. After which the assembly was dismissed.
Roman antiquities 7.15
The next day the consuls assembled the senate, being terrified at this revolutionary behaviour and believing that the demagogy of Brutus would end in some great mischief. And many proposals of every sort were made to that body both by the consuls themselves and also by the older senators. Some were of the opinion that they ought to court the populace by all possible expressions of kindness and by promises of deeds, and make their leaders more moderate by bringing the public business into the open and inviting them to join in their deliberations concerning the common advantage. But others advised not to show any sign of weakness toward a headstrong and ignorant multitude and toward the bold and insufferable madness of creatures who courted the mob, but to declare in their own defense that the patricians were in of way to blame for what had happened and to promise that they would take all possible care to remedy the evil, and at the same time to reprimand those who were stirring up the people and warn them that if they did not desist from rekindling the sedition they would be punished as they deserved. The chief proponent of this view was Appius, and it was this opinion that prevailed, after such violent strife among the senators that even the people, hearing their clamour at a great distance, rushed in alarm to the senate house and the whole city was on tip−toe with expectation. After this the consuls, going into the Forum, called the people together when not much of the day now remained; and coming forward, they attempted to inform them of the decision they had reached in the senate. But the tribunes opposed them, and thereupon neither the consuls nor the tribunes spoke in their turns nor observed any decorum in their debate; for they cried out together and endeavoured to prevent one another from speaking, so that it was not easy for those who were present to understand what they meant.
Roman antiquities 7.16
The consuls thought it reasonable that, as they had the superior power, they should have the command of everything in the city, while the tribunes insisted that the assembly of the people was their particular sphere, as the senate was that of the consuls, and that whatever the people had the authority to judge and determine was subject to their power alone. The populace supported the tribunes, shouting their approval and being prepared, if necessary, to account any who attempted to hinder them, while the patricians rallied to the support of the consuls. And a violent contest ensued, each side insisting not yielding to the other, as if their defeat on this single occasion would mean the giving up of their claims for all time to come. It was now near sunset and the rest of the population were running out of their houses to the Forum; and if night had descended upon their strife, they would have proceeded to blows and the throwing of stones. To prevent this, Brutus came forward and asked the consuls to give him leave to speak, promising to appease the tumult; and they, looking upon this as a yielding to them, since, even though the tribunes were present, this leader of the people had not asked the favour of those magistrates, gave him leave. Then, when silence reigned, Brutus, instead of making a speech, merely put questions of the following nature to the consuls: "Do you remember," he said, "that when we put an end to the sedition by an accommodation this right was granted to us − that when the tribunes should assemble the people to consider any matter whatever the patricians should not be present at the assembly or create any disturbance there?" "We remember," answered Geganius. Then Brutus added: "What is the matter with you, then, that you oppose us and do not allow the tribunes to say what they please?" To this Geganius replied: "Because it was not the tribunes who assembled the people, but we, the consuls. If, now, the assembly had been called by them, we should not have presumed either to hinder them at all or to interfere; but since we ourselves assembled them, we do not hinder the tribunes from speaking, but we feel that it is not right that we should be hindered by them." Then Brutus said: "We have won, plebeians, and our adversaries have yielded everything to us we desired. For the present, therefore, dap and cease your strife; tomorrow, I promise you, I will show you how great is the strength you possess. And do you, tribunes, yield the Forum to them for the present; for in the end you will not yield it. When you learn how great a power your magistracy is possessed of (for you will have that knowledge soon; I myself undertake to make it clear to you), you will render their arrogance more moderate. But if you find I am imposing upon you, do to me whatever you will."
Roman antiquities 7.17
None having opposed this, both parties left the assembly, but with very different impressions. The poor thought that Brutus had hit upon something extraordinary and that he had not made such an important promise rashly, while the patricians despised the levity of the man and thought the boldness of his promises would go no farther than words; for they imagined that no other power had been granted by the senate to the tribunes than that of relieving such plebeians as were unjustly treated. However, not all the senators, and least of all the older men, made so light of the matter, but they were upon their guard lest the madness of this man might occasion some irreparable mischief. The following night Brutus, having communicated his plan to the tribunes and having prepared a goodly number of the plebeians to support him, went down with them to the Forum; and possessing themselves before sunrise of the sanctuary of Vulcan, where the assemblies of the people were usually held, they called an assembly. When the Forum was filled (for a greater throng had assembled upon this occasion than ever before), Sicinius the tribune came forward and made a long speech against the patricians, reminding the plebeians of all they had suffered at their hands; then he told them about the day before, how he had been hindered by them from speaking and deprived of the power of his magistracy. "What other power, indeed," he asked, "shall we have after this, if we are not allowed even that of speaking? How shall we be able to relieve any of you when unjustly treated by them, if we are deprived of the authority of assembling you? For words, I presume, are the beginning of all action; and it is obvious that those who are not allowed to say what they think will not be allowed to do, either, what they please. Either take back, therefore, the power you have garden us," he said, "unless you intend to establish it securely, or by a law duly enacted prevent all opposition to us for the future." When he had thus spoken and the people had cried out to him with a great shout to introduce the law, Sicinius, who had it already drawn up, read it to them and permitted the people to vote upon it immediately. For the business seemed to admit of no postponement or delay, lest some further obstacle should be interposed by the consuls. The law was as follows: "When a tribune is delivering his opinion to the people, let no one say anything in opposition or interrupt him. If anyone shall act contrary to this, let him, if required, give sureties to the tribunes for the payment of the fine they shall impose upon him. If he refuses to give any surety, let him be punished with death and his goods be confiscated. And let the trials of those who protest against these fines take place before the people." After the tribunes had caused this law to be passed, they dismissed the assembly; and the people departed full of joy and very grateful to Brutus, whom they looked upon as the author of the law.
Roman antiquities 7.18
After this the tribunes had many controversies with the consuls over various matters, and not only did the people refuse to recognize as valid the decrees of the senate, but the senate also did not find acceptable anything that the people determined; and both of them continued to be arrayed in hostile camp and to be suspicious of one another. However, their hatred did not lead to any irreparable mischief, as often happens in like disorders. For, on the one hand, the poor did not attack the houses of the rich, where they suspected they should find stores of provisions laid up, nor attempt to raid the public markets, but consented to buy small quantities for a high price, and when they lacked money, they sustained life by using roots and grass for food. Nor, on the other hand, did the rich, in the confidence of their own strength and that afforded by their clients, who were very numerous, offer violence to the weaker citizens and aim at making themselves masters of the city by driving out some of the poor and putting others to death, but, like those fathers who conduct themselves most prudently toward their sons, they continued to display toward their errors the kind of displeasure that is benevolent and solicitous. While Rome was in this situation, the neighbouring cities invited any of the Romans who so desired to live among them, luring them by the offer of citizenship and the hopes of other kind treatment, some from the best of motives, because of good will and compassion for their misfortune, but the greater part through envy of their former prosperity. And very great numbers did remove with their whole families to live elsewhere, some of whom returned when the affairs of the city were composed, while others remained where they were.
Roman antiquities 7.19
The consuls, observing these things, thought fit, with the approval of the senate, to levy an army and to march with the forces out of the city (they had found a plausible excuse for their plan in the frequent incursions and depredations of their enemies by which the country was being laid waste); and they also considered the other advantages that would result from this action, namely, that by sending an army into the field those, on the one hand, who were left, becoming fewer in number, would enjoy a greater plenty of provisions, while those under arms, by supplying themselves from the enemy's stores, would live in greater abundance, and the sedition would be in abeyance as long as the expedition lasted. But, above all, it seemed that if the patricians and plebeians served together, their sharing equally in both good and ill fortune amid the dangers of the war would effectually confirm their reconciliation. But the plebeians were not inclined to obey them, nor willingly, as before, to offer themselves to enlist in the service; and the consuls did not think it wise to enforce the law against those who were unwilling to serve. But some patrician volunteers together with their clients were enlisted, and when they marched out of the city they were joined by a small number of plebeians. The army was commanded by Gaius Marcius, who had taken the city of Corioli and distinguished himself above all others in the battle against the Antiates; and the greater part of the plebeians who now took up arms were encouraged to do so upon seeing him take the field, some of them out of affection for him, and others in the hope of a successful campaign; for he was already famous and the enemy had come to have great fear of him. This army, having advanced as far as the city of Antium without any trouble, captured a great deal of corn that they found in the fields, and many slaves and cattle; and after a short time it returned better supplied than before with all the necessaries of life, so that those who had remained at home were greatly dejected and blamed their demagogues, through whom they felt they had been deprived of the same good fortune. Thus Geganius and Minucius, the consuls of this year, though involved in great and various storms and often in danger of wrecking the state, caused it no harm, but brought it safely through its perils by dealing with events rather with prudence than with good fortune.
Roman antiquities 7.20
The consuls appointed to succeed them, Marcus Minucius Augurinus and Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, who were both invested with this magistracy for the second time, being men not unskilled either in arms or in debate, took great care to supply the city plentifully with both corn and all other provisions, believing that the harmony of the masses depended on their well−being in this respect. Nevertheless, it was not their good fortune to obtain both these ends at the same time, but the surfeit of good things was accompanied by the insolence of those who had the benefit of them. And then it was that Rome was exposed once more to a very grave danger from a most unlikely source. For the ambassadors sent to buy corn, having purchased a large quantity at the public expense in both the maritime and the inland markets, brought it to the city; and the merchants also who used to trade in the markets flocked thither from all parts, of whom the commonwealth bought their lading with the public funds and kept it under guard. Then too Geganius and Valerius, who had been sent earlier as ambassadors to Sicily, arrived with many merchantmen in which they brought fifty thousand Sicilian bushels of wheat, one half of it purchased at a very low price and the rest sent by the tyrant as a free gift to the Romans and conveyed at his own expense. When word was brought to the people in Rome that the ships had arrived from Sicily laden with corn, a long debate arose among the patricians concerning the disposal of it. For those among them who were the most reasonable and the greatest friends of the people, having in view the public necessary, advised them to distribute all the corn given by the tyrant among the plebeians, and to sell to them at a low price that which had been purchased with the public funds, pointing out that by these favours more than by any other means the animosity of the poor against the rich would be moderated. On the other hand, those who were more arrogant and more zealous for the oligarchy thought that they ought to use every effort and every means to oppress the plebeians; and they advised making the provisions as costly as possible to them in order that they might through necessity become more moderate and more observant in general of the principles of justice prescribed by the constitution.
Roman antiquities 7.21
One of this oligarchic party was that Marcius, surnamed Coriolanus, who did not, like the rest, deliver his opinion with secrecy and caution, but with so much openness and boldness that many even of the plebeians heard him. It seems that, besides the general grievance against them which he shared with the others, he had lately received some private provocations that seemed to justify his hatred of the plebeians. For when he had stood for the consulship at the last election, in which he had been supported by the patricians, the people had opposed him and would not permit that magistracy to be conferred on him, since his brilliant reputation and daring inclined them to caution, lest he might make some move to overthrow the tribuneship, and they were particularly apprehensive because the whole body of the patricians promoted his interest with a zeal they had never before shown for any other candidate. Marcius, therefore, being exasperated at this humiliation, and at the same time desirous of restoring the government to its ancient form, not only worked openly himself, as I have already said, to overthrow the power of the people, but also urged his associates on to the same end. He had about him a large faction of young men of noble birth and of the greatest fortunes, as well as many clients who had attached themselves to him for the sake of the booty to be gained in the wars. Elated by these advantages, he assumed a haughty air, became conspicuous, and attained to the greatest distinction. And yet, for all this, he did not come to a fortunate end, as shall now be related. The senate having been assembled to consider the matters I have mentioned, and the older senators, according to custom, having delivered their opinions first, only a few of them declaring openly against the populace, when it came to the turn of the younger senators to speak, Marcius asked leave of the consuls to say what he wished; and meeting with loud acclaim and strict attention, he delivered the following harangue against the populace:
Roman antiquities 7.22
"That the populace seceded, after hims, not because of necessity and want, but because they were elated by the mischievous hope of destroying your aristocracy and of becoming themselves masters of the commonwealth, I think has become clear to nearly all of you when you observe the advantages which they gained by the accommodation. For they were not content, after they had destroyed the good faith which gave validity to their contracts and had abolished the laws made to secure it, to carry their meddling no farther, but introducing a new magistracy designed to overthrow that of the consuls, they made it sacred and inviolable by law, and have now, unobserved by you, senators, been acquiring a tyrannical power through this newly−enacted law. For when their leaders, in their great power putting forward the specious pretence of coming to the aid of such plebeians as are wronged, sack and pillage whatever they please by virtue of that power, and when there is no man, either private citizen or magistrate, who will oppose their lawless deeds for fear of this law, which destroys even our liberty of speech as well as of action by imposing the penalty of death on all who utter a word befitting freemen, what other name ought to be given by sensible men to this domination but that which is the true one and which you would all own to be such, namely, a tyranny? And if we are under the tyranny, not of one man, but of a whole populace, what is the difference? For the effect of both is the same. It would have been best, therefore, never to have permitted even the seed of this power to be sown, but rather to have submitted to everything, as the excellent Appius, who foresaw these mischiefs from afar, advised. But if that could not be, we ought now at least with one accord to pluck it up by the roots and cast it out of the city while it is yet weak and easily combatted. And we are not the first or the only persons to whom this experience has come, senators, but oft−times in the part many who have been reduced to unenviable straits and have failed to take the best counsel in matters of the greatest consequence, since they did not check the beginnings of the evil, have endeavoured to prevent its growth. And the repentance of those who are late in beginning to be wise, though inferior to foresight, yet, when viewed in another light, is seen to be no less valuable, since it wipes out the error originally made in ignorance by preventing its consequences.
Roman antiquities 7.23
"But if any of you, while looking upon the actions of the populace as outrageous and believing that they ought to be prevented from making any further mistakes, are nevertheless afraid of seeming to be the first to violate the agreement and transgress the oaths, let them know that, since they will not be the aggressors but will be repelling aggression, and will not be violating the agreement but rather punishing the violators of it, they will not only be guiltless towards the gods, but will also be doing an act of justice while they consult their own interest. And let this be a strong argument that it is not you who are taking the first steps to break the agreement and violate treaty, but rather the plebeian element, by not observing the conditions upon which they obtained their return. For, after asking for the tribunician power, not in order to injure the senate, but to secure themselves from being injured by the senate, they no longer employ this power for the purposes they ought or on the terms on which they obtained it, but for the overthrow and destruction of the established government. For surely you recall the recent assembly of the people and the harangues there made by their demagogues, what arrogance and unruliness they showed, and how these infatuated men vaunt themselves now, since they have discovered that the whole control of the commonwealth lies in the vote, which they will control, being more numerous than we. What, therefore, remains for us to do, now that they have begun to violate the compact and the law, but to repel to attacks of the aggressors, to deprive them justly of what they now unjustly possess, and for the future to put a stop to their craving for ever more and more? And we should return thanks to the gods for not having permitted them, when they had gained an unfair advantage at first, to act after that with moderation, but for having inspired them with this shamelessness and officiousness which have forced you to endeavour both to recover the rights you have lost and to guard with due care those that remain.
Roman antiquities 7.24
"The present opportunity is favourable as no other, if you really intend to begin to act with wisdom, since the greater part of the plebeians are now reduced to dire straits by the famine and the rest cannot hold out for want of money if they find proves scarce and dear. The worst of them and those who were never pleased with the aristocracy will be forced to leave the city, and the more reasonable will be compelled to behave themselves in an orderly manner without giving you any further trouble. Keep the provisions, therefore, under guard, and abate nothing of the price of commodities, but pass a vote that they shall now be sold at as high a price as ever. For this you have just grounds and plausible excuses in the ungrateful clamour of the populace to the effect that the scarcity of corn was contrived by you, whereas it was occasioned by their own revolt and the desolation of the country which they caused when they pillaged it just as if it had been the territory of an enemy; and again in the disbursements from the treasury to the men sent to purchase corn, and in many other instances in which you have been wronged by them. By this means we shall also know at last what that grievous treatment is which they are going to inflict upon us if we refuse to gratify the people in everything, as their demagogues threatened in order to frighten us. But if you let this opportunity also slip from your grasp, you will often pray for such another. Moreover, if the people should become aware that you desired to overthrow their power but were deterred, they will bear down much harder upon you, looking upon your desire as a proof of enmity and upon your inability to carry it out as evidence of cowardice."
Roman antiquities 7.25
After this speech of Marcius the opinions of the senators were divided and a great tumult arose among them. For those who from the beginning had opposed the plebeians and submitted to the accommodation against their will, among whom were almost all the youth and the richest and most ambitious of the older senators, some of them resenting the losses sustained in the loans they had made under contract and others their defeat when they sought office, applauded Marcius as a man of spirit and a lover of his country, who advised what was best for the commonwealth. On the other hand, the senators whose sympathies were with the populace and who set no undue value on riches and thought nothing was or necessary than peace, were offended at his speech and rejected his advice. These maintained that they ought to surpass the humbler citizens, not in violence, but in kindness, and that they ought to regard reasonableness as not unbecoming, but necessary, particularly when it was manifested out of goodwill towards their fellow−citizens; and they declared that the advice of Marcius was madness, not frankness of speech or liberty. But this group was small and weak, and hence was overborne by the more violent party. The tribunes, seeing this, for they were present in the senate at the invitation of the consuls, cried out and were in great conflict of mind, calling Marcius the pest and bane of the state for uttering malicious words against the populace; and unless the patricians should prevent his design of introducing civil war into the state by punishing him with death or banishment, they said they would do so themselves. When a still greater tumult arose at these words of the tribunes, particularly on the part of the younger senators, who bore their threats with impatience, Marcius, inspired by these manifestations, now attacked the tribunes with greater arrogance and boldness, saying to them: "Unless you cease disturbing the commonwealth and stirring up the poor by your harangues, I shall no longer oppose you with words, but with deeds."
Roman antiquities 7.26
The senate being now embittered, the tribunes, finding that those who desired to take away the power granted to the people outnumbered to who advised adhering to the agreement, rushed out of the senate−house shouting and calling upon the gods who had been witnesses to their oaths. After this they assembled the people, and having acquainted them with the speech made by Marcius in the senate, they summoned him to make his defense. But when he paid no regard to them, but repulsed with abusive words the attendants by whom he was summoned, the tribunes grew still more indignant, and taking with them the aediles and many other citizens, ran to seize him; he chanced to be still standing before the senate−house, attended by a large number of the patricians and by the rest of his faction. When the tribunes caught sight of him, they ordered the aediles to lay hold of his person and, if he refused to follow them, to bring him away by force. The aediles at that time were Titus Junius Brutus and Gaius Visellius Ruga. These advanced with the intention of seizing him; but the patricians, looking upon it as a terrible thing that any one of their number should be forcibly carried away by the tribunes before being tried, placed themselves in front of Marcius, and striking all who approached him, drove them away. The news of this occurrence having been spread through the whole city, all rushed out of their houses, the magistrates and the men of means with the purpose of assisting the patricians in protecting Marcius and of recovering their ancient form of government, and those of humble condition and straitened circumstances prepared to aid the tribunes and to carry out any orders they might give. And the feeling of respect, which had hitherto restrained them from venturing to commit any lawless acts against one another, they had now abandoned. However, they did not commit any irreparable deed that day, but postponed a decision until the following day, out of deference to the advice and exhortations of the consuls.
Roman antiquities 7.27
The next day the tribunes were the first to descend to the Forum; and assembling the people, they came forward one after the other and preferred many charges against the patricians, alleging that they had violated their treaty and transgressed the oaths by which they had promised the people to forget and forgive the past. As proofs that they were not sincerely reconciled to the plebeians they pointed to the scarcity of corn which the patricians had brought about, to the sending out of the two colonies, and to all the other things they had contrived with a view to diminishing the number of the populace. After that they inveighed violently against Marcius, repeating the words he had spoken in the senate, and told them that, when he was summoned by the people to make his defense before them, he had not only not deigned to come, but had even driven away with blows the aediles who came to fetch them. They summoned, as witnesses of what had passed in the senate, the most honoured members of that body, and, as witnesses of the insult offered to the aediles, all the plebeians who had been present at the time in the Forum. Having spoken thus, they gave leave to the patricians to make their defense if they wished; and for that purpose they kept the people together till the senate should be dismissed. For it happened that the patricians were holding a session concerning this very matter, debating whether they should clear themselves to the people of the charges that had been brought against them or should remain quiet. When the majority of the opinions inclined to humane rather than to stubborn measures, the consuls dismissed the meeting and came to the Forum with the intention both of refuting the charges brought against their whole order and of asking the people not to come to any irreparable decision against Marcius. And Minucius, the older of the consuls, coming forward, spoke as follows:
Roman antiquities 7.28
"Our defense as regards the scarcity is a very brief one, plebeians, and we shall offer no other witnesses than you yourselves to prove the truth of what we allege. For surely even you yourselves know that the land produced no crops of grain for the reason that none was sown. And as for the general ruin of the land, you have no need to be informed by others to what cause it was due and by what means at last the largest and the most fertile part of the land has come to lack all crops, slaves, and cattle − partly because it was being laid waste by the enemy and partly because it was incapable of supplying you who are so numerous and have no other resource. Believe, then, that the famine was occasioned, not by what your demagogues charge, but by what you yourselves know to be true, and cease to attribute this misfortune to plotting on our part and to be angry with us when we are guilty of no wrongdoing. As to the colonists, there was a necessity for sending them out since it was the unanimous decision of all of you to garrison places that will be of use in time of war; and sending them out when the occasion was so very urgent has proved of great advantage both to those who went out and to you who are left behind. For the colonists enjoy there a greater plenty of all the necessaries of life, and those who remain here suffer less from the scarcity of provisions; and the principle of impartiality in sharing the decrees of Fortune, to which we patricians submitted along with you plebeians when we chose the colonists by lot, is not open to censure.
Roman antiquities 7.29
"What, then, possesses the demagogues to find fault with us for those things in which both our opinions and our fortunes are the same, whether they are hurtful, as they say, or advantageous, as we think. As to the accusations they have made against us in connection with the recent meeting of the senate, to the effect that we did not think fit to show any moderation in the matter of the price of provisions, that we were plotting to abolish the tribunician power, that we still resented your secession and were eager to injure the plebeians in every way, and all the other like charges, we shall soon refute them by our actions, not only in doing you no injury, but also in confirming even now the tribunician power upon the same terms on which we then granted it to you, and in selling the corn at such price as you shall all of you determine. Have patience, therefore, and if any of these things are not performed, accuse us then. But if you will carefully examine our differences, you will find that we patricians have greater reason to accuse the people than you have to blame the senate. For you wrong us, plebeians, and be not offended at being told this, if without waiting to learn the outcome of our deliberations you think fit to find fault with them already. Yet who does not know that it would be the easiest of all things for anyone who wished to do so to destroy and abolish from a state the spirit of harmony by charging others with designs of which the proof, being still in the future and not yet mag, is no safeguard to the accused against suffering some injustice, but rather an excuse to the accuser for doing an injustice? And it is not your leaders alone who deserve censure for accusing and calumniating the senate, but you yourselves no less than they for giving cdid to them and resenting injuries before experiencing them. For what you ought to have done, if it was future acts of injustice that you feared, was to reserve your anger for the future also; but, as matters stand, it appears that you have reached your decision with greater haste than prudence and are assuming that greater safety lies in greater baseness.
Roman antiquities 7.38
"Concerning the acts of injustice with which the tribunes have charged the senate as a body, I think what I have said sufficient. But since they also calumniate every one of us individually for whatever we say in the senate and charge that we are dividing the state, and since they are now endeavour you to put to death or banish Gaius Marcius, a man who loves his country and who expressed himself with frankness in discussing the public interests, I wish to tell you the rights of this matter also; and I ask you to consider whether what I shall say is not fair−minded and true. When you, plebeians, were treating for a reconciliation with the senate, you thought it enough for you to be discharged of your debts, and you desired leave to choose magistrates out of your own body to protect the poor from oppression; and when you obtained both these things, you were very grateful to us. But to undermine the office of the consuls, to take away the authority of the senate to protect the interests of the commonwealth, or to overthrow the established form of government are things you neither asked nor intended to ask. What possesses you, then, that you attempt now to upset all these institutions? Or relying upon what principle of justice do you seek to take away the offices which belong to us? For if you are going to make it dangerous for the senators to express their sentiments with frankness, what fairness is to be expected from the language of your leaders? Or relying upon what law will they undertake to punish any of the patricians with death or banishment? For neither the old laws nor the agreements recently made with the senate give you this power. But to transgress the bounds prescribed by the laws and to render force superior to justice is the mark, not of a democracy, but, if you desire to hear the truth, of a tyranny. For my part, I hould advise you, while giving up none of the benefits which you obtained from the senate, not to lay claim, either, to any now which you did not then demand when you were treating for a reconciliation with them.
Roman antiquities 7.31
"But in order to make it still more plain to you that your demagogues are making demands that are neither moderate nor just, but are aiming at illegal in impossible ends, pray transfer the situation to yourselves and consider it in this light: Imagine that the senators are accusing your political leaders of delivering in your assembly malicious speeches against the senate, of endeavouring to overthrow the established aristocracy, of raising a sedition in the state − all of which they could assert with truth, since they are doing all these things, and, worst of all, of aiming at greater power than was granted tom, in attempting to put to death without a trial anyone of our number they please; and imagine that the senators declare that the persons guilty of these crimes are to be put to death with impunity. How would you bear this arrogance of the senate? And what would you say? Would you not become indignant and complain that you were treated outrageously if anyone deprives you of your freedom of speech and of your liberty by threatening to visit the extreme penalty upon any who have spoken frankly in behalf of the people? You cannot deny that you would. Then do you think it reasonable that others should bear what you yourselves would not submit to? Are these purposes of yours, plebeians, becoming to citizens and do they show moderation? By making such demands do you not yourselves confirm the truth of the charges brought against you and show that those who advise us not to permit your lawless domination to gain new strength have at heart the rights of the commonwealth? So it seems to me, at least. But if you desire to do just the opposite of what you have been charged with doing, follow my advice, moderate your behaviour, and bear as fellow−citizens should, rather than with ill humour, the words which give you offense. For if you do this, you will have a double advantage: you will be regarded as good men and those who are hostile to you will repent.
Roman antiquities 7.32
"These are the weighty considerations of justice, at least we so regard them, which we put forward in order to persuade you to make no mistakes; but as for our benefits and kindly services, which we shall mention, not from any desire to reproach you, but wishing to make you more reasonable, apart from those of former times there are the recent ones in connection with your return, we desire to forget them, though you have just reason to remember them; but we are under the necessity of citing them at this time, asking that, for the many great favours we have bestowed upon you at your request, you will grant us this one on your part, neither to put to death nor to banish from the state a man who loves his country and excels all others in the art of war. For it will be no small loss to us, as you well know, plebeians, if we deprive the commonwealth of such valour. Preferably, then, you ought to relent on his own account, calling to mind how many of you he has saved in the wars, and instead of retaining any resentment for his objectionable words, to remember his glorious deeds. For his speech has done you no harm, whereas his actions have done you great service. However, if you cannot be reconciled to this man, at least as a favour to us and the senate yield him up to our entreaties, be at last firmly reconciled to us, and cause the commonwealth to be united as it was in the beginning. But if you do not yield to our persuasions, be assured that we shall not yield to your violence either; but this testing of the populace will be either the source of a sincere friendship and of still greater benefits for all, or the fresh beginning of civil war and irreparable evils."
Roman antiquities 7.33
After Minucius had spoken in this manner, the tribunes, seeing the populace moved by the moderation of his speech and the humanity of his promises, were offended and displeased, and particularly Gaius Sicinius Bellutus, the one who had persuaded the poor to secede from the patricians and had been appointed by them to be their general while they were in arms. He was a most bitter foe of the aristocracy, and having for that reason been raised by the multitude to a position of eminence and given the tribunician power for the second time already, he, least of all the demagogues, thought it to his interest that the commonwealth should become harmonious and recover its ancient good order. For not only did he not expect to enjoy the same honours and powers any longer under an aristocracy, since he was of lowly birth, poorly educated, and had never distinguished himself in either war or peace, but he knew he should even be in peril of his life for having caused a sedition in the state and brought upon it many other evils. After he had considered, therefore, what he ought to say and do, and had consulted with his colleagues and gained their assent, he rose up, and after uttering a few words of commiseration over the unhappy lot of the plebeians, he commended the consul for vouchsafing to give them an account of their actions without despising their low condition, and also said he was grateful to the patricians if now at last they were taking some that for the preservation of the poor; and he declared that he should still more heartily join with all the rest in bearing witness to the fact if they would make their actions conform to their words.
Roman antiquities 7.34
Having spoken thus and given the impression that he was moderate and conciliatory in disposition, he turned to Marcius, who stood near the consuls, and said: "And you, sir, why do you not clear yourself before your fellow−citizens in regard to what you said in the senate? Or rather, why do you not entreat them and deprecate their anger, that they may impose a milder penalty upon you? For I would not advise you to deny the fact, as so many are acquainted with it, or to have recourse to shameless excuses, since you are Marcius and have a spirit above that of a man in private station unless, indeed, it is seemly for the consuls and the patricians to intercede for you with the populace, but will not be seemly for you to do this same thing for yourself." This he said, well knowing that a man of his proud spirit would never submit to be his own accuser, and, as if he had transgressed, to ask for a remission of his punishment or, contrary to his character, to have recourse to lamentations and entreaties, but that he would either scorn to make any defense at all or, preserving his innate arrogance, would indulge in no flattery of the populace by showing moderation in his words. And this is just what happened. For when silence prevailed and almost all the plebeians felt a strong desire to acquit him if he would make the most of the present opportunity, he showed such arrogance in his words and so great a contempt of the plebeians that he did not deny a single thing he had said in the senate against them, nor, as if he repented of what he had said, resort to appeals for pity or to prayers for mercy. Indeed, he absolutely refused even to let them be his judges in any matter, as having no lawful authority; but if anyone should think fit to accuse him before the consuls and require an accounting of either his words or his actions, he was ready to stand trial in a place appointed by law. He said that he had come before the plebeians since they themselves summoned him, partly to reprimand them for the lawlessness and the grasping for more power in which they had indulged both in connection with their secession and after their return, and partly to advise them now at last to check and restrain their unjust desires. After that he inveighed against them all with great vehemence and boldness, and particularly against the tribunes. In his speech there was not the calculated deference of the political leader instructing a popular assembly, nor the prudent caution of one in private station who, hated by many, faces the angry outbursts of his ruler, but rather the untempered wrath of an enemy fearlessly insulting those under his power and a harsh contempt for his victim.
Roman antiquities 7.35
For these reasons, while he was yet speaking, there arose a great tumult, his hearers frequently shifting their opinion now this way now that, as happens in crowds of diverse elements and different inclinations, some being pleased at his word and others in turn offended. And when he had done speaking, a still greater clamour and tumult arose. For the patricians, calling him the bravest of men, commended him for his frankness of speech and said he was the only free man of their whole body, since he had neither feared a host of enemies advancing upon him nor flattered the insolent and illegal impulses of his fellow−citizens; on the other hand, the plebeians, chafing under his reproaches, called him overbearing and harsh and the bitterest of all enemies. And some who were very reckless were already doing their best to have him summarily put to death. In this they were assisted and abetted by the tribunes, and Sicinius in particular gave a loose rein to their desires. At any rate, after he had delivered a long tirade against Marcius and inflamed the minds of the plebeians, he became most vehement in his accusations and then pronounced sentence, saying that the college of the tribunes condemned him to death because of his insolence toward the aediles, whom he had day before driven away with blows when they were ordered by the tribunes to bring him before them; for they alleged that the insult committed by him against their assists was aimed at no others than those who had given them their orders. Having said this, he commanded that he be led to the hill that overlooks the Forum;this is an exceeding high precipice from which they used to hurl those who were condemned to death. The aediles, accordingly, stepped forward in order to lay hold on him, but the patricians, crying out with a loud voice, rushed upon them in a body. Then the plebeians fell upon the patricians, and there followed many disorderly deeds and many insulting words on both sides, as they pushed and laid hold on one another. However, the moving spirits in the tumult were restrained and compelled to come to their senses by the consuls, who forced their way into the midst of the contending parties and ordered their lictors to keep back the crowds; so great respect did the men of those times feel for this magistracy and so much did they honour the semblance of the royal power. Whereupon Sicinius, being perplexed and disturbed, was filled with apprehension, lest he should force his adversaries to repel violence with violence; but he disdained to desist from his attempt after he had once engaged in it, and finding himself unable to adhere to his resolutions, he considered long what he ought to do.
Roman antiquities 7.36
Seeing him in this perplexity, Lucius Junius Brutus, that demagogue who had contrived the terms of the accommodation, a man of great sagacity in all matters, but particularly in finding possible solutions in impossible situations, came to him and taking him aside, advised him not to persist contentiously in attempting to carry out a reckless and illegal undertaking when he saw not only that the whole body of the patricians was aroused to anger and ready, if the consuls called upon them, to rush to arms, but also that the sturdiest element among the populace were hesitating and in no mood readily to acquiesce in delivering up to death the most illustrious person in the city, and that without a trial. He therefore advised him to yield for the present and not to take issue with the consuls, lest he should cause some greater mischief, but to appoint a trial for the man, setting some time or other for it, and let the citizens give their votes by tribes concerning him; and then to do whatever the majority of the votes should determine. For it was an act of tyranny and violence, he said, that Sicinius was now attempting to accomplish, in constituting the same person at once the accuser and judge and also the one to determine the degree of punishment, whereas the procedure of all civil government is for the accused to have an opportunity to make his defense according to the laws and then to suffer such punishment as the majority of his judges may determine. Sicinius yielded to these arguments, as he saw no better plan; and coming forward, he said: "You see, plebeians, the eagerness of the patricians for deeds of bloodshed and violence, which induces them to prefer one arrogant man, who wrongs the whole commonwealth, to your entire body. Nevertheless, we ought not to imitate them and rush headlong to our ruin, either by beginning war or by defending ourselves against attack. But since some are putting forward the law as a specious pretense and are attempting to snatch him from punishment by rallying to the support of this law which allows no citizen to be put to death without a trial, let us concede them this claim, though we ourselves are not treated by them in either a lawful or a just manner; and let us show that we choose to surpass in reasonableness rather than in violence our fellow−citizens who injure us. As for you, plebeians, depart, therefore, and wait for the destined moment, which will not be long in coming. We on our part will meanwhile get everything ready that is urgent, and having appointed a day for the man to make his defense, we will bring about his trial before you as judges. And when you are legally possessed of the right of giving your votes, inflict such punishment on him as you shall find he deserves. So much for this matter. As to the sale and distribution of the corn in the most equitable manner, if these men and the senate do not take some thought about it, we shall look after the business. Having said this, he dismissed the assembly.
Roman antiquities 7.37
After this the consuls assembled at the senate and considered with them at leisure by what means the present disturbance might be allayed. And they resolved, first, to win over the plebeians by selling the provisions to them at a very cheap and low price; and in the next place, to endeavour to prevail upon their leaders to desist from their purpose, as a favour to the senate, and not to bring Marcius to a trial; or, if they would not do this, to put it off to the most distant time possible, till the angry feelings of the multitude should die down. Having passed these votes, they laid their decree relating to the provision before the popular assembly, and, as all praised it, they secured its ratification. It was to this effect: that the prices of commodities necessary for daily subsistence should be the lowest they had ever been before the civil strife. But from the tribunes, in spite of many entreaties, they were unable to obtain an absolute dismissal of the charges against Marcius, though they did get a postponement of his trial for as long a time as they asked. And they themselves contrived another delay by taking advantage of the following situation: When the ambassadors sent from Sicily by the tyrant had delivered to the people his present of corn to them, and having sailed for home, were now lying at anchor not far from the harbours of Antium, the Antiates, sending out a piratical force, brought them into port and not only treated their effects as booty taken from an enemy, but also imprisoned the men themselves and kept them under guard. The consuls, being informed of this, caused a vote to be passed to make an expedition against the Antiates, since, when the Romans sent ambassadors to them, they had refused to offer any satisfaction; and having raised an army consisting of all who were of military age, both consuls took the field, after getting a decree of the senate ratified for the suspension of all private and public suits for as long a time as they should continue under arms. This, however, was not so long a time as they had expected, but much shorter. For the Antiates, hearing that the Romans had set out against them with all their forces, did not resist for even the briefest time, but having recourse to prayers and entreaties, delivered up both the persons of the Sicilians whom they had taken and their effects also, with the result that the Romans were under the necessity of returning to the city.
Roman antiquities 7.38
The army having been disbanded, Sicinius the tribune assembled the populace and announced the day on which he proposed of hold the trial of Marcius. He urged not only the citizens who lived at Rome to come en masse to decide this cause, but also those who resided in the country to leave their tasks the be present on the same day, intimating that they would be giving their votes for the liberty and the safety of the whole commonwealth. He summoned Marcius also to appear and make his defense, assuring him that he should be deprived of none of the privileges the law allowed in connection with trials. In the mean time the consuls, after they had consulted the senate, resolved not to permit the people to get control of so great power. They had found out a just and legal means of preventing it, by which they expected to defeat all the designs of their adversaries. After this they invited the leaders of the people to a conference, at which their friends also were present; and Minucius poke as follows: "It is our opinion, tribunes, that we ought to endeavour with all our power to banish this sedition from the state and not to engage in rivalry with the people over any matter, especially when we see that you have turned from violent methods to just measures and to debate. But however commendable we may think this resolution of yours, we are of the opinion that the senate ought to take the initiative by passing a preliminary decree, as is our traditional practice. For you yourselves can testify that from the time our ancestors founded this city the senate has always possessed this prerogative and that the people never determined or voted anything without a previous resolution of the senate, not only now, but even under the kings; for the kings laid the resolutions of the senate before the popular assembly to be ratified. Do not, then, deprive us of this right nor abolish this ancient and excellent custom; but showing the senate that you desire a just and reasonable thing, do you grant the people authority to ratify any decree the senate shall pass."
Roman antiquities 7.39
While the consuls were thus speaking, Sicinius grew impatient at their words and refused to give the senate authority in any matter at all. But his colleagues, upon the advice of Decius, consented that the preliminary decree should be passed, after they themselves had made a just proposal which it was impossible for the consuls to refuse. They asked, namely, that the senators should grant a hearing to them, who were acting for the people, as well as to those who wished to speak in support of or against the accused, and that after hearing all parties who desired to express their views regarding what they thought just and advantageous to the commonwealth, they should then all give their opinions as in a court of justice, after taking the oath appointed by law; and whatever the majority of the votes determined, should be valid. The tribunes having consented that the senate should pass the preliminary decree as the consuls desired, the meeting was dismissed for the time being. The next day the senate met in the senate−house, and after the consuls had acquainted them with the terms of the agreement they had made, they called the tribunes and bade them state why they were present. Thereupon Decius, who had consented that the preliminary decree should be passed, came forward and spoke as follows:
Roman antiquities 7.40
"We are not ignorant, senators, of what will happen, namely, that we shall be censured before the people for coming to you, and shall have as our accuser in the matter of the preliminary decree a man who is possessed of the same power as ourselves and who did not think we ought to ask of you that which the law gives us or to receive as a favour that which is our right. And if we are tried for this, we shall run no hazard, but shall be condemned as deserters and traitors and suffer the worst of punishments. But though sensible of these things, we have consented to come to you, relying on the justice of our cause and trusting to the oaths under which you will express your opinions. We are indeed unimportant men to treat of such great and important subjects, and are far from equal to what the situation demands; but the matters we shall discuss are not unimportant. Attend, therefore, to these, and if they shall seem to you just and advantageous to the commonwealth and I may add, even necessary permit us to obtain them of your own free will.
Roman antiquities 7.41
"I shall speak first concerning the point of justice. After you had got rid of the kings with our assistance, senators, and had established our present constitution, with which we find no fault, you observed that the plebeians had always the worse of it in their suits whenever they had any difference with the patricians, which frequently happened; and you accordingly sanctioned a law, on the advice of Publius Valerius, one of the consuls, permitting the plebeians, when oppressed by the patricians, to appeal their cases to the people; and by means of this law more than by any other measure you both preserved the harmony of the commonwealth and repulsed the attacks of the kings. It is in virtue of this law that we summon Gaius Marcius here to appear before the people because of the injustice and oppression which we all declare we have suffered at his hands, and we call upon him to make his defense before them. And in this case a preliminary decree was not necessary. For whereas in matters concerning which there are no laws you have the right to pass such a decree and the people have the right to ratify it, yet when there is an inviolable law, even though you pass no decree, that law must of course be observed. For surely no one will say that this appeal to the people must be allowed in the case of private citizens who have got the worst of it in their trials, but not in the case of us, the tribunes. Firmly relying, therefore, upon this concession of the law, and thus encouraged to run the risk of submitting our cause to you as our judges, we have come before you. And in virtue of an unwritten and unenacted natural right we make this demand of you, senators, that we may be in neither a better nor a worse condition than you at least in the matter of justice, inasmuch as we have assisted you in carrying on many important wars and have shown the greatest zeal in getting rid of the tyrants, and have had no small part in enabling the commonwealth to take orders from none but to give laws to others. Now the most effectual means you could take, fathers, to put us in no worse a condition than yourselves in point of rights would be to stop those who are making illegal attempts against our persons and our liberty, by placing before their eyes the fear of a trial. So far as magistracies, special privileges, and offices are concerned, we believe we should bestow them upon those who excel us in merit and fortune; but to suffer no wrong, and to receive justice adequate to any wrongs one may sustain, are rights, we hold, which should be equal and common to all who live under the same government. Accordingly, just as we yield to you the privileges that are illustrious and great, so we do not intend to give up those that are equal and common to all. Let this suffice concerning the point of justice, though there are many other things that might be said.
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"Bear with me now while I explain to you in a few words how these demands of the people will also be advantageous to the commonwealth. For, come now, if anyone should ask you what you regard as the greatest of the evils that befall states and the cause of the swiftest destruction, would you not say it is discord? I at least, think you would. For who is there among you so stupid, so perverse, and immoderate a hater of equality as not to know that if the people are allowed to render judgment in causes in which the law gives them the authority, we shall live in harmony, whereas, if you decide to the contrary and deprive us of our liberty for you will be depriving us of liberty if you deprive us of justice and law you will drive us again into sedition and civil war? For if justice and law are banished from a state, sedition and war are wont to enter there. Now in the case of those who have had no experience of civil calamities, it is no wonder if, because of inexperience of those evils, they neither grieve over the misfortunes that are past nor take early precautions to prevent others in the future; but for those who, when exposed as you were, to the gravest perils, thought themselves happy to be rid of them by making such a settlement of the evils as the situation demanded, what specious or reasonable excuse is left them if they meet again with the same misfortunes? Who would not consider you guilty of great folly and madness when he calls to mind that although just a short time ago, in order to appease a sedition of the plebeians, you submitted to many things against your will, some of which were neither very honourable, perhaps, nor very advantageous, yet now, when you are not destined to be injured in either your fortunes or your reputation or, for that matter, in any of your public interests whatever, you are going to goad all plebeians into war again, to oblige the bitterest foes of democracy? No, not if you are wise. But I should like to ask you what motive induced you at the time to consent to our return upon the terms we desired. Did you foresee in the light of reason what was best, or did you yield to necessity? For if you thought those concessions to be of the greatest advantage to the commonwealth, why do you not adhere to them at present also? And if they were necessary and unavoidable, why are you disgruntled now that they have been made? Possibly you ought not to have granted them in the first place, if you could have avoided it, but once having granted them, you ought no longer to find fault with what is done.
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"For my part, senators, I think you used the best judgment in regard to the accommodation ....to which you are obliged to yield....to observe faithfully the terms agreed upon. For you gave us the gods as sureties for the performance of the terms by invoking many grievous curses upon those who should violate the compact, both upon them and upon their posterity forever. But I do not know that it is necessary the weary you by saying any more in order to convince you, who are all well acquainted with the facts, that our demands are only what is just and advantageous, and that you are under every necessity of carrying them out, if you are mindful of your oaths. Learn now, fathers, that it is a point of no small importance to us not to relinquish this contest, either yielding to force or deluded by trickery, but that we entered upon it because of the greatest necessity, having suffered outrageous treatment, and worse than outrageous, at the hands of this man. Or rather recall these facts from your own knowledge; for I shall say nothing that is not known to all of you. And at the same time use your own judgment in passing upon what I am saying, reflecting how, if any of us had attempted in an assembly of the people to say or do such things against your class as Marcius dared to utter here, you would have felt towards him.
Roman antiquities 7.44
"For Marcius here was the first man among you who endeavoured to dissolve our unalterable compact of unity with the senate, secured by bonds all but adamantine, a compact which it is unlawful for either you, who swore to its observance, or your posterity to dissolve as long as this city shall be inhabited. And this he did before the compact was in its fourth year, nor was it in silence, nor after he had slunk into some secret hole, that he worked for its abrogation, but he openly expressed the opinion in this very place, in the presence of you all, that you ought no longer to allow us the tribunician power, but ought to abolish the first and only safeguard of our liberty, relying on which we entered into the accommodation. Nor did this bluffing stop here, but giving to the liberty of the poor the name of insolence, and to equality that of tyranny, he advised you to deprive us of them. Call to mind, fathers, the most wicked of all the measures he then urged, when he declared it to be a fine opportunity for you to remember again all your resentment against the plebeians for their former offenses, and advised that now, while they were distressed for want of money and had already for a long time lacked the necessaries of life, you should crush their whole class by firmly holding the market to the same scarcity of provisions. For we should not hold out for any length of time, he said, while paying a high price for little corn, poor men that we are, but some of us would leave the city and go elsewhere, while those who remained would perish by the most miserable of all deaths. But he was so senseless and infatuated in giving you this advice as not to be able to see even this that, to say nothing of the other evils he was inflicting by asking the senate to dissolve its compact, such a multitude of poor men, when deprived of the necessaries of life, would be compelled to attack the authors of their calamity, no longer regarding any one as a friend. Consequently, if you had been so mad as to adopt his advice, it must have ended in one of these two ways, for there would have been no middle course: either the whole plebeian multitude would have perished, or even the patrician class would not have survived. For we should not have allowed ourselves to be banished or put to death in so slavish a manner, but, having called upon the gods and lesser divinities to be witnesses to our sufferings, be assured we should have filled the fora and the streets with many dead bodies, and after offering up a great bowl of the blood of our fellow−citizens, we should then have accepted our destined fate. Of such impious deeds, fathers, did he make himself the proponent, and such things did he think fit to demand in his harangue.
Roman antiquities 7.45
"Nor did Marcius merely undertake to utter words that would divide the city, yet refrain from acting in accordance with his words, but actually keeping about him a body of men ready for any service, he refuses to appear before our magistrates when summoned, and showers blows upon our assistants when at our command they endeavour to bring him away, and at last does not even refrain from offering violence to our own persons. The consequence is that, as far as in him lies, we bear the specious name of an 'inviolable' magistracy, a term given in mockery, but discharge not one of the functions assigned to that magistracy. For how shall we give relief to others who complain that they are injured, when we ourselves have no security? When, therefore, we, the poor, have been thus insulted by one man who, though not yet a tyrant, is nevertheless aiming at tyranny; when we have already suffered many indignities, and came near suffering others, had not the majority of you, fathers, prevented it, have we not good reason to resent this and to feel that we ought to obtain some assistance as well as your sympathy in our resentment, when we summon him to a fair and legal trial, in which the whole populace, divided into their tribes, will give their votes under oath after all who desire to speak have been heard? Go thither, Marcius, and say in your defense before all the citizens in a body what you are intending to say here either that with the best intention you gave the soundest advice to these senators and that your advice, if followed, would have been advantageous to the commonwealth, or that it is not right that those who deliver their opinions in this place should have to give an account of their words, or that it was not with premeditation or treacherous purpose, but in a momentary yielding to passion that you were led to give this abominable advice, or whatever other defense you can offer. Descend from that overbearing and tyrannical haughtiness to a more democratic behaviour, wretched man, and make yourself at last like other men. Assume the humble and piteous demeanour of one who has erred and is asking pardon, such a demeanour as your plight requires. Seek to save yourself, not by offering violence to those you have injured, but by courting their favour. As an example of moderation, the practice of which would make you free from all reproach on the part of your fellow−citizens, take the actions of these worthy men. Though they are so many in number as you yourself see here present, and have displayed so many virtues both in war and in peace that I could not easily enumerate them in a very long time, yet they, the venerable and great, passed no cruel or haughty sentence against us, the common and humble folk, but even took the lead themselves in making overtures and offered us a reconciliation when Fortune had divided us from one another, and they agreed to make the compact upon the conditions we desired, rather than upon those they thought would be best for themselves; and finally, when the difficulties recently arose over the distribution of corn, for which we blamed them, they took great pains to remove these grounds of offense.
Roman antiquities 7.46
"I omit all the rest. But in your own behalf, and to deprecate the punishment due to your madness, what intercessions did they not employ with all the plebeians both collectively and individually? Then, if it was seemly, Marcius, for the consuls and the senate, who have the oversight of so great a commonwealth, to submit to the judgment of the populace concerning any charges brought against them, is it not seemly also for you to do likewise? And though these men all argued it as no disgrace to entreat the plebeians to acquit you, do you think this same course disgraceful for yourself? And is this not enough for you, sir, but, just as if you had performed some fine action, do you go about preening yourself and indulging in boastful talk, refusing to abate anything of your pride? I say nothing, you see, of your also reviling, accusing, and threatening the people. And do you not resent his arrogance, fathers, in setting a greater value upon himself alone than even all of you set upon yourselves? And yet, even if you were all willing to vote to engaged in war for his sake, he ought to be satisfied with this proof of your goodwill and zeal and not to accept a private favour at the expense of the public injury, but to consent to make his defense, standing trial and, if need be, suffering any punishment. For such would be the behaviour of a good citizen who practises what is honourable in his actions, not merely in his words. But as for the violent deeds in which this man now indulges, of what kind of life do they give evidence? Of what kind of principles is it an indication to violate oaths, to break solemn pledges, to nullify covenants, to make war upon the people, to abuse the persons of magistrates, and to refuse to make oneself accountable for any of these actions, but submitting to no trial, offering no defense, courting no man, fearing no man, and disdaining equally with any one of this great multitude of citizens, to strut about with impunity? Are not these the indications of a tyrannical disposition? I, at any rate, think so. And yet, encouraging and applauding this man are some of your own number, in whose minds is implanted an implacable hatred against the plebeians, and they cannot see that the growth of this evil threatens the humbler portion of the citizens no more than it does the more exalted portion, but imagine that when their adversary is enslaved their own situation will be secure. But this is not so in reality, misguided men. If you will learn from the example afforded by Marcius and from history, and will be admonished by precedents both foreign and native, you will know that tyranny fostered against the people is fostered against the whole commonwealth, and that, though it begins at present with us, yet after it has gained strength it will not spare you either."
Roman antiquities 7.47
After Decius had spoken in this manner and the rest of the tribunes had supported him by adding what they thought he had omitted, and it was now time for the senators to deliver their opinions, first the oldest and the most honoured of the ex−consuls, being called upon by the consuls in the customary order, rose up, and after them those who were inferior to them in both these respects, and last of all, the youngest senators, who made no speeches (for that was still looked upon then as disgraceful by the Romans, and no young man presumed to be wiser than an old man), but seconded the opinions delivered by the ex−consuls. It was required, however, that all the senators should come forward and give their votes upon oath as in a court of justice. Then Appius Claudius, whom I mentioned before as the greatest enemy to the plebeians of all the patricians, one who could never relish the agreement made with the plebeians, opposed the passing of the preliminary decree, speaking as follows:
Roman antiquities 7.48
"For my part, I kept wishing and often prayed to the gods that I might be mistaken in the opinion I entertained concerning the accommodation with the populace, when I thought that the return of the fugitives would be neither honourable and just nor advantageous to us, and from first to last, whenever anything relating to this subject was proposed for our consideration, I was the first of all and finally the only one, after the rest had deserted me, who opposed it. And I also wished that you, senators, who have always hoped for the best and cheerfully granted to the populace all their demands, both just and unjust, might prove to be wiser than I. But now that things have not turned out for you as I wished and prayed, but rather as I expected, and now that the benefits you conferred have ended in envy and hatred, I shall forbear to censure you for your past errors or to cause you needless pain (which is a very easy thing to do and what everyone usually does), as I perceive that it will be out of place at this time. However, I shall endeavour to suggest to you how we may correct such of the past errors are not absolutely incurable and may act with greater wisdom in the present situation. And yet I am not unaware that I shall appear to some of you to be mad and to be courting death in expressing my opinion freely concerning these matters, when they consider how great danger frankness of speech matters, and reflect on the plight of Marcius, who at this moment runs the risk of losing his life for no other reason. But I believe that I ought not to be more anxious for my personal safety than for the public welfare. For my body has already been given to the perils that attend your cause, senators, and devoted to the struggles in defense of the commonwealth; so that whatever Heaven pleases to ordain, I shall suffer it resolutely either with all of you or with a few, or, if necessary, even alone. But while I have life, no fear shall deter me from saying what I think.
Roman antiquities 7.49
"In the first place, I want you now at last to be firmly convinced of this, that your plebeian multitude is unfriendly and hostile to the established government, and that all the concessions you have through weakness made to them have not only been wasted by you, but have even exposed you to contempt, as having been granted by you through necessity rather than from goodwill or sober choice. For look at it in this way: When the populace took up arms, and, seceding from you, ventured to become openly your enemies, albeit they had received no injury, but offered as an excuse their inability to discharge their debts and impunity for the offenses they had committed during their secession, they would make no further demands, the greater part of you, though not all, misled by their advisers, voted, as would to Heaven they had not! to abrogate the laws enacted in the interest of the public faith and to grant an amnesty for all the offenses that had been committed at that time. But the plebeians were not satisfied with obtaining this favour, which they said was the only one they had mentioned when they seceded, but straightway asked for another concession still greater and more illegal than this − that leave should be granted them to choose tribunes from their own number every year − making our superior strength their excuse for this demand, to the end, forsooth, that some aid and refuge might lie open to the poorer citizens who were wronged and oppressed, though in reality they were plotting against our form of government and desired to change it to a democracy. This magistracy also those advisers of our prevailed upon us to admit into the commonwealth, though its introduction was to the public detriment and in particular would arouse hatred against the senate, and notwithstanding that I, if you recall, exclaimed against it and called both gods and men to witness that you would bring into the commonwealth endless civil war, and foretold everything that has since befallen you.
Roman antiquities 7.50
"What, then, did this fine populace of ours do after you had granted them this magistracy also? They did not make a prudent use of so great a benefit nor did they receive it with respect and modesty, but, just as if we were in fear and consternation because of their strength . . . then they said this magistracy ought to be declared sacred and inviolable and should be secured by oaths, thus demanding for it a greater honour than you yourselves have conferred upon the consuls. To this also you submitted, and standing over the parts of the sacrificial victims, you invoked utter destruction upon both yourselves and your posterity if you should violate your oath. What, then, did they do when they had obtained this also? Instead of being grateful to you and maintaining our ancestral form of government, they began from these ill−gotten advantages, and making these illegal acts the steps to future encroachments, they not only introduce laws without a preliminary decree of the senate, but enact them without your concurrence; they pay no regard to the decrees you publish; they accuse the consuls of maladministration of the state; and if anything happens contrary to your agreement with them − and there are many things which human reason cannot accurately foresee − they attribute it, not to chance, as they should, but to deliberate intention on your part; and while they pretend that designs are being formed against them by you and that they are afraid you may either deprive them of their liberty or expel them from their country, they themselves are continually forming these very designs against you, and plainly show that their only method of guarding against the mischief they claim to fear consists in being the first to inflict it. This they have often made apparent even before now, upon many occasions which I am prevented from mentioning at present, but particularly by their treatment of Marcius here, a lover of his country and a man who is neither of obscure birth nor inferior himself to any of us in valour, whom they accused of forming designs against them and of going evil advice in this place, and attempted to put to death without a trial. And if the consuls and the more sagacious among you had not become indignant at this action and joined together to restrain their illegal attempts, you would have been deprived in that one day of everything that your ancestors acquired with many labours and left to you, and of everything that you yourselves possess after undergoing on fewer struggles than they, of your prestige, your supremacy, and your liberty; while those of you who had more spirit and would not have been contented with life alone unless you were to live in the enjoyment of those blessings, would, either then or soon after, have chosen to lose your lives rather than lose these privileges. For if once Marcius had been made away with in some shameful and dastardly a manner, like one all alone in a wilderness, what could have hindered me also, after him, and all of you who had ever opposed or were likely to oppose thereafter the unlawful attempts of the populace, from perishing by being torn in pieces by our enemies? For they would not have been satisfied with getting only the two of us out of the way, nor would they, after going thus far, have desisted from their lawless course, if we are to judge the future from the past; but having begun with us, they would have rushed down like a torrent in flood upon all who opposed them and did not submit to them, and would have swept them away and borne them off, sparing neither birth, merit nor age.
Roman antiquities 7.51
"These, senators, are the fine returns which the populace have either already made to you, or would have made, if it had not lain in your power to prevent them, for the many great benefits they have received from you. Now consider those things that they did after this magnanimous and prudent action on your part, in order that you may learn how you ought to deal with them. Well then, as soon as they found you resolved no longer to bear their insolence but prepared to join issue with them, they were struck with terror, and recovering themselves slightly, as from a fit of drunkenness or madness, they desisted from violence and had recourse to legal action; and appointing a day, they summoned Marcius to appear then and stand his trial, at which they themselves were to be at once the accusers, the witnesses, and the judges, and the ones to determine the degree of the punishment. And since you opposed this also, because you thought that he was summoned, not to be tried, but to be punished, the populace, perceiving that they have absolute authority in no matter whatever, but only the power of ratifying your preliminary decrees, now abate their arrogance, which then blew so strong, and have come to beg that you will grant them this favour also. Bearing this in mind, therefore, perceive at last and learn that all the privileges you have hitherto granted them, with greater guilelessness than prudent, have brought calamities and harm upon you, but that every courageous stand you have made against their illegal and violent acts has turned out advantageously. What, then, do I advise you to do, now that you understand these things, and what opinion do I express upon the present question? Just this: As regards the privileges and concessions which you made to the populace at the time of your reconciliation, however you came to grant them, I advise you to adhere to them as valid and to abrogate none of the concessions you then made, not because they are honourable and worthy of the commonwealth, how could they be?, but because they are necessary and can no longer be remedied. But as to anything beyond this which they may endeavour to extort from you against your will by violence and illegal means, I advise you not to grant or allow it, but to oppose them both by words and by deeds, not only all of you as a body, but each one individually. For it is not inevitable, if a person has erred once through either deception or necessity, that he should act in like manner in everything else, but mindful of that error, he ought to consider by what means his future conduct may not resemble it. This is the resolution which I think you ought all of you unitedly to have formed, and I advise you to be prepared against the unjust encroachments of the populace.
Roman antiquities 7.52
"That this matter, which is the subject of your present consideration, is also of a piece with their other unjust and illegal attempts and not, as the tribune endeavoured to prove in order to deceive you, a just and reasonable request, let those among you now learn who are not yet certain of it. Well then, the law relating to the popular courts, the law upon which Decius relied for his chief support, was not enacted against you patricians, but for the protection of such plebeians as are oppressed, as the law itself, written in unequivocal terms, plainly shows, and as all of you, being perfectly acquainted with it, always declare to be the case. Strong proof of this is afforded by the length of time it has been in force, which seems to be the best criterion in the case of every disputed principle of law; for nineteen years have now passed since this law was enacted, and during all this time Decius cannot point to a single instance of a trial, either public or private, brought against any patrician in virtue of this law. But if he shall assert that he can, let him produce it and we need no further discussion. As to the agreement you recently entered into with the plebeians (for it is necessary that you should be informed about this also, since the tribune has shown himself an unscrupulous interpreter of it), it contains these two concessions, that the plebeians shall be discharged of their debts, and that these magistrates shall be elected annually for the relief of the oppressed and the prevention of injustice toward them; and except these, there is no other provision. But let the greatest indication to you that neither this law nor the compact has given the populace the power of trying a patrician be the present behaviour of the populace themselves. For they ask this power of you today, as not having possessed it hitherto; yet no one would ask to receive from others anything to which he is entitled by law. And how can this, senators, be a natural, unwritten right, for Decius thought you ought to consider this,that the populace shall try all causes in which the plebeians are involved, whether the actions are brought against them by the patricians, or by them against the latter, while patricians, whether plaintiffs or defendants in any suit with the plebeians, shall not decide those controversies, but the plebeians shall be given the advantage in both cases, while we enjoy neither right? But if Marcius or any other patrician whatsoever has injured the people and deserves either death or banishment, let him be punished after being tried, not by them, but here, as the law directs. Unless, forsooth, Decius, the populace will be impartial judges and would not show any favour to themselves when giving their votes concerning an enemy, whereas these senators, if they are empowered to vote in his case, will regard the wrong−doer as of more importance than the commonwealth that suffers from his wrongdoing, when as the result of their verdict they are sure to draw upon themselves a curse, the guilt of perjury, the detestation of mankind, and the anger of the gods, and to go through life haunted by dismal hopes! It is unworthy of you, plebeians, to entertain these suspicions about the senate, to whom you acknowledge that you concede honours, magistracies, and the most important powers in the commonwealth on the basis of merit, and to whom you say you feel very grateful for the zeal they showed for your return. These sentiments are inconsistent with one another; and it is not reasonable that you should fear those you commend and entrust the same persons with the more serious responsibilities while at the same time distrusting them in those of less consequence. Why do you not keep to one uniform judgment, either trusting them in everything or distrusting them in everything? But, on the contrary, you think them capable of passing a preliminary decree about principles of right, but not of sitting in judgment concerning these very principles involved in that decree. I had many other things to say concerning the rights of this matter, senators; but let this suffice.
Roman antiquities 7.53
"But since Decius undertook to speak also on the subject of advantage, pointing out how excellent a thing harmony is and how terrible a thing sedition, and that, if we cultivate the populace, we shall live together in harmony, but if we hinder them from banishing whomsoever of the patricians they wish or murdering them, we shall be involved in a civil war, though I have many things to say upon this head, I shall content myself with very few. And first I have to marvel at the dissimulation − surely it is not lack of sense − of Decius, if he imagines that he is a better judge of the interests of the state, though he has just entered upon the administration of public affairs, than we who have grown old in it and have made the city a great from a small one; and, in the next place, if he supposed that he could persuade you that you had to deliver up any man to his enemies to be punished, particularly a fellow−citizen of yours and one who is not a person of no consequence or merit, but one whom you yourselves look upon as most brilliant in war, most exemplary in his private life, and inferior to none in handling public affairs. And these things he has dared to say, though he knows street you show the greatest respect for suppliants and do not exclude them from such humanity even those of your enemies who flee hither for refuge. Indeed, if you knew we practised the very contrary of all this, Decius, entertaining impious ideas about the gods and practising injustice towards men, what deed more dreadful than this could you have advised us to commit, by which we shall incur the hatred of both gods and men and be utterly and totally destroyed? We have no need of your advice, Decius, either about delivering up any of our citizens or about any other business we have to transact. Nor do we believe that, in judging of our own interests, we should use a borrowed wisdom of youths − we who, through long experience of both good and evil fortune, have come to our present age. As for the threats of war with which you endeavour to terrify us − not now employed by you for the first time, but flaunted often in the past by many − leaving them to our habitual mildness to deal with, we shall bear them with intrepidity. And if you indeed try to do anything like what you threaten, we shall defend ourselves with the assistance both of the gods, who are always wroth with the aggressors in an unjust war, and of men, no small number of whom will be our allies. For all the Latins, to whom we lately granted equal rights of citizenship, will be on our side, fighting for this commonwealth as for a country now their fatherland, and the many flourishing cities colonized from Rome, counting it imperative that their mother−city should be saved, will come to her defense. And if you reduce us to the necessity of embracing every kind of assistance, Decius, we shall submit to inviting even our slaves to liberty, our enemies to friendship, and all mankind to a share in our hopes of victory, and then join issue with you. But, O Jupiter and all ye gods who guard the Roman state, may there be no occasion for anything of this kind! Rather may these terrible threats go no farther than words and result in no deplorable act!"
Roman antiquities 7.54
Thus Appius spoke. Then Manius Valerius, who was the greatest friend to the plebeians of all the senators and had shown the greatest zeal for the accommodation, upon this occasion also openly espoused their cause and delivered a speech, composed with much thought, in which he censured those senators who would not permit the commonwealth to remain united, but sought to divide the plebeians from the patricians and for trifling causes to rekindle the flames of strife. He then commended those who held that there was but one advantage to be considered and that the common advantage, and regarded everything else as secondary to harmony; and he showed them that, if the populace obtained the right to try this man, as they demanded, and received this privilege also with the consent of the senate, possibly they would not even press the prosecution to the end but, satisfied with having got him in their power, would treat him with lenity rather than severity. And even if the tribunes should believe it to be necessary by all means to carry the case through to its lawful conclusion and the populace should thus be empowered to give their votes concerning him, they would acquit him of the charge, partly out of respect for the defendant himself, and partly by way of making this return to the senate for the favour it had granted by giving them this power and by opposing them in nothing that was reasonable. Nevertheless, he advised that not only the consuls, but all the senators and the rest of the patricians as well should be present in a body at the trial and assist Marcius in making his defense and entreat the people to come to no harsh decision concerning him, assure and them that the presence of these men also would contribute not a little toward turning the scales on the side of the defendant's acquittal' and he advised that they should not only thus assist him themselves by expressing their views, but that each of them should summon his own clients and assemble his friends, and if they thought that any of the plebeians were attached to them as the result of benefits they had received from them, they should ask these too to show their gratitude for former favours now when they were to give their votes. He showed them also that there would be no small element among the populace which loved the right and hated the wrong, and an even larger number who knew how to sympathize with human misfortunes and to feel compassion for men in position of honour when their fortunes have suffered reverse. But the greater part of his speech was addressed to Marcius himself, in which he joined exhortation to admonition, and entreaty to compulsion. For he begged of him, since he was accused of dividing the populace from the senate and also charged with being tyrannical by reason of his arbitrary manner, and since all men were filled with fear that because of him there would spring up sedition and all the irreparable evils which civil wars bring in their train, that he would not make true and valid the accusations against himself by persevering in his invidious way of life, but would change it to an humble deportment, submit his person to the power of those who complained of being injured, and not decline to clear himself by a just defense of an unjust charge. For that course was not only for saving his life the surest, he told him, but also, as regarded the reputation he coveted, the most brilliant, and it was in keeping with the deeds he had already performed; whereas, if he should show himself arrogant rather than moderate and expect the senate to expose themselves to every danger for his sake, he declared that the defeat he might bring to those who had listened to him would be disastrous, while a victory would be disgraceful to them. He then indulged in many lamentations and enumerated the most important and the most obvious evils that befall states in times of dissension.
Roman antiquities 7.55
When he had related all these evils with many tears − tears that were not feigned and affected, but genuine − this man who was eminent for the dignity both of his years and of his merits, perceiving that the senate was moved by his words, proceeded then with confidence to deliver the remainder of his speech. "If any of you, senators," he said, "are disturbed by the thought that you will be introducing a pernicious custom into the commonwealth if you grant the populace the power of giving their votes against the patricians, and entertain an opinion that the tribunician power, if considerably strengthened, will serve no good purpose, let them learn that their opinion is erroneous and their surmise is the opposite of what it should be. For if anything is going to be the means of preserving this commonwealth and insuring that she shall never be deprived of her liberty or her power, but shall ever continue to be united and harmonious in all respects, the most effective instrument will be the populace if taken as partners in the administration of affairs; and what will benefit us above everything will be, not to have a simple and unmixed form of government administering the state, whether monarchy, oligarchy, or democracy, but a constitution combined out of all of these. For each of these forms by itself alone very easily ends in wantonness and lawlessness; but when all of them are duly combined, the element which is inclined at any time to make innovations and to overstep the customary bounds is held in check by the element which is self−restrained and remains true to its own character. Thus monarchy, when it becomes cruel and insolent and begins to pursue tyrannical measures, is overthrown by a few good men. And an oligarchy composed of the best men, which is your present form of government, when it has become elated by reason of its wealth and its bands of partisans, and pays no regard to justice or to any other virtue, is overthrown by a prudent democracy. And when a democracy that is moderate and governs in accordance with laws begins to be disorderly and lawless, it is taken in hand by the strongest man and set right by force. You, senators, have devised all the precautions possible to prevent the monarchical power from degenerating into tyranny, for you have invested two men instead of one with the supreme power of the commonwealth, and though you have entrusted this magistracy to them, not for an indefinite time, but only for a year, you nevertheless appoint, to keep watch over them, three hundred patricians, at once the best and the oldest, of whom this senate is composed. But you do not seem as yet to have appointed any to watch over you yourselves, to insure your remaining within proper bounds. Now as for you, I have no fear so far that you will permit your minds to be corrupted by the magnitude and number of your blessings, since you have only recently delivered the commonwealth from a long tyranny and because of the long and continuous wars have not yet had leisure to grow insolent and wanton. But with regard to your successors, when I consider how great changes the long course of time brings with it, I am afraid that the men of power in the senate may introduce some change and, unnoticed, transform the government into a tyrannical monarchy.
Roman antiquities 7.56
"If, then, you admit the populace also to a share in the government, no evil will arise for you here. But the man who aims at greater power than the rest of his fellow−citizens and has formed a faction in the senate of all who are willing to share his disaffection and his crimes (for when we are deliberating concerning the commonwealth we ought to foresee every likely contingency), this great and august person, I say, when called upon by the tribunes to appear before the popular assembly, before the lowly and humble people, will have to give an accounting of both his actions and his purpose, and if found guilty, suffer the punishment he deserves. And lest the people themselves, when vested with so great a power, should grow wanton and, seduced by the demagoguery of the worst men, make war upon the best citizens (for it is in the masses as a rule that tyranny springs up), some person of exceptional sagacity, created dictator by you, will guard against this evil and will not allow them to do anything lawless; for, being invested with absolute and irresponsible power, he will cut off the diseased part of the commonwealth and will not permit that which is as yet uninfected to be contaminated; he will reform in the best manner possible the habits, usages and aims of the citizens, and appoint such magistrates as he thinks will govern the south with the greatest prudence; and having effected these things within the space of six months, he will again become a private citizen, receiving no other reward for these actions than the honour. Do you, then, bearing these things in mind, and believing that this is the most perfect form of government, debar the populace from nothing, but, even as you have granted them the right of choosing the magistrates who are to preside each year over the commonwealth, as well as confirming or invalidating laws, of declaring war and making peace − which are the greatest and the most important matters that come up for action in the commonwealth − and have not invested the senate with authority over any one of these matters, in like manner give them also a share in the courts, and particularly in the trials of those who are accused of crimes against the state by raising a sedition or aiming at tyranny or discussing a betrayal of the state with the enemy or attempt us some other mischief of like nature. For the more formidable you make it for the overbearing and self−seeking to transgress the laws and to alter your customs, by appointing many eyes to watch and many men to keep guard over them, the better will be the condition of your commonwealth."
Roman antiquities 7.57
After he had said this and other things to the same purport, he ended. And the rest of the senators who rose up after him, except a few, concurred in his opinion. When the preliminary decree of the senate was to be drawn up, Marcius, asking leave to speak, said: "You all know, senators, how I have acted with regard to the commonwealth, and that it is because of my goodwill toward you that I have come into this danger, and furthermore that your behaviour toward me has been contrary to my expectation; and you will know this even better when the action against me has ended. However, since the opinion of Valerius prevails, may these measures prove of advantage to you and may I prove a poor judge of future events. But in order not only that you who are to draw up the decree may know upon what terms you going to deliver me up to the people, but that I also may not fail to know on what charge I am to defend myself, pray order the tribunes to declare in your presence what the crime is of which they intend to accuse me and what title they propose to give to the cause."
Roman antiquities 7.58
He said this in the belief that he was to be tried for the words he had spoken in the senate, and also from a desire that the tribunes should acknowledge that they intend to accuse him on this charge. But the tribunes, after consulting together, charged him with aiming at tyranny and ordered him to come prepared to make his defense against that charge. For they were unwilling to confine their accusation to a single point, and that neither a strong one in itself nor acceptable to the senate, but were scheming to obtain for themselves the authority to bring any charges they wished against Marcius, and were expecting to deprive him of the assistance of the senators. Thereupon Marcius said: "Very well, if this is the charge on which I am to be tried, I submit myself to the judgment of the plebeians; and let there be nothing to prevent the drawing up of the preliminary decree." The greater part of the senators too were well pleased that he was to be tried upon this charge, for two reasons − first, that to speak one's mind freely in the senate was not going to render one liable to an accounting, and second, that Marcius, who had led a modest and irreproachable life, would easily clear himself of that accusation. After this the preliminary decree for the trial was drawn up and Marcius was given time till the third market−day to prepare his defense. The Romans had markets then, as now, every eighth day, upon which days the plebeians resorted to the city from the country and exchanged their produce for the goods they bought, settled their grievances in court, and ratified by their votes such matters of public business as either et laws assigned or the senate referred to them for decision; and as the greater part of them were small farmers and poor, they passed in the country the seven days intervening between the markets. As soon, therefore, as the tribunes received the preliminary decree they went of the Forum, and calling the people together, gave great praise to the senate, and then, after reading the decree, appointed a day for holding the trial, at which they asked all the citizens to be present, as matters of the greatest moment were to be decided by them.
Roman antiquities 7.59
When news of this was spread abroad, there was great enthusiasm and marshaling of both the plebeian and the patricians, the former feeling that they were about to avenge themselves upon the most arrogant of all men, and the latter striving earnestly to save the champion of the aristocracy from falling into the hands of his enemies; and to both parties it seemed that their whole claim to life and liberty was at stake in this trial. When the third market−day arrived, such a crowd of people from the country as had never before been known had come together in the city and held possession of the Forum from the very break of day. The tribunes then summoned the populace to the tribal assembly, first having roped off portions of the Forum in which the tribes were to take their places separately. And this was the first time the Romans ever met in their trial assembly to give their votes against a man, the patricians very violently opposing it and demanding that the centuriate assembly should be convened, as was their time−honoured custom. For in earlier times, whenever the people were to give their votes upon any point referred to them by the senate, the consuls had summoned the centuriate assembly, after first offering up the sacrifices required by law, some of which are still performed down to our time.
class="mark">The populace was wont to assemble in the field of Mars before the city, drawn up under their centurions and their standards as in war. They did not give their votes all at the same time, but each by their respective centuries, when these were called upon by the consuls. And there being in all one hundred and ninety−three centuries, and these distributed into six classes, that class was first called and gave its vote which consisted of those citizens who had the highest property rating and who stood in the foremost rank in battle; in this were comprised eighteen centuries of horse and eighty of foot. The class that voted in the second place was composed of those of smaller fortunes who occupied an inferior position in battle and had not the same armour as the front−line fighters, but less; this multitude formed twenty centuries, and to them were added two centuries of carpenters, armourers and other artificers employed in making engines of war. Those who were called to vote in the third class made up twenty centuries; they had a lower rating than those of the second class and were posted behind them, and the arms they carried were not equal to those of the men in front of them. Those next called had a still lower property rating and had a safer post in battle and their armour was lighter; these also were divided into twenty centuries, and arrayed with them were two centuries of horn−blowers and trumpeters. The class which was called in the fifth place consisted of those whose property was rated very low, and their arms were javelins and slings; these had no fixed place in the battle−line, but being light−armed men and mobile, they attended the heavy−armed men and were distributed into thirty centuries. The poorest of the citizens, who were not less numerous than all the rest, voted last and made but one century; they were exempt from the military levies and from the war−taxes paid by the rest of the citizens in proportion to their ratings, and for both these reasons were given the least honour in voting. If, therefore, in the case of the first centuries, which consisted of the horse and of such of the foot as stood in the foremost rank in battle, ninety−seven centuries were of the same opinion, the voting was at an end and the remaining ninety−six centuries were not called upon to give their votes. But if this was not the case, the second class, composed of twenty−two centuries, was called, and then the third and so on till ninety−seven centuries were of the same opinion. Generally the points in dispute were determined by the classes first summoned, so that it was then needless to take those of the later classes. It seldom happened that a matter was so doubtful that the voting went on till the last class was reached, consisting of the poorest citizens; and it was in the nature of a miracle when, in consequence of the first hundred and ninety−two centuries being equally divided, the addition of this last vote to the rest turned the scale one way or the other. The supporters of Marcius, accordingly, demanded that this assembly based on the census should be called, expecting that he might perhaps be acquitted by the first class with its ninety−eight centuries, or, if not, at least by the second or third class. On the other hand, the tribunes, who also suspected this outcome, thought they ought to call the tribal assembly and to empower it to decide this cause, to the end that neither the poor might be at a disadvantage as compared with the rich nor the light−armed men have a less honourable station than the heavy−armed, nor the mass of plebeians, by being relegated to the last calls, be excluded from equal rights with the others, but that all the citizens might be equal to one another in their votes and equal in honour, and at one might give their votes by tribes. The claim of the tribunes seemed to be more just than that of the patricians in that they thought the tribunal of the people ought to be a popular, not an oligarchic, tribunal, and that the cognizance of crimes committed against the commonwealth ought to be common to all.
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The tribunes having with difficulty gained this point also from the patricians, when it was time for the trial to be held, Minucius, one of the consuls, rose first and spoke as the senate had directed him. First he reminded the populace of all the benefits they had received from the patricians; and next he asked that in return for so many good offices they should grant at their request one necessary favour in the interest of the public welfare. In addition to this, he praised harmony and peace, told of the great good fortune which each of them brings to states, and inveighed against discord and civil wars, by which, he told them, many cities had been destroyed with all their inhabitants and whole nations had perished utterly. He exhorted them not to indulge their resentment so far as to prefer worse counsels to better, but with sober reason to contemplate future events, nor, again, to take the worst of their fellow−citizens for their advisers when deliberating concerning matters of the greatest importance, but rather those they esteemed the best, men from whom they knew their country had received many benefits in both peace and war and whom you would not have any reason to distrust, as if they had changed their natures. But the sum and substance of his whole discourse was to persuade them to pass no vote against Marcius, but preferably to acquit him for his own sake, remembering what sort of man he had proved himself toward the commonwealth and how many battles he had won in fighting for both its liberty and its supremacy, and that they would be acting in neither a pious nor a just manner nor in a way worthy of themselves, if they held a grudge against him for his objectionable words, while feeling no gratitude for his splendid deeds. The present occasion, too, he told them, was a splendid one for acquitting him, when he had come in person to surrender himself to his adversaries and was ready to acquiesce in whatever they should decide concerning him. If, however, they were unable to become reconciled to him, but were harsh and inexorable, he asked them to bear in mind that the senate, consisting of three hundred men who were the best in the city, was present to intercede for him, and begged them to feel some compassion and to soften their hearts, and not for the sake of punishing one enemy to reject the intercession of so many friends, but rather as a favour to many good men to disregard the prosecution of one man. Having said this and other things to the same purport, he ended his speech with this suggestion, that if they acquitted the man by taking a vote, they would seem to have freed him because he had done the people any wrong, whereas, if they prevented the trial from being completed, they would appear to have done so as a favour to those who interceded in his behalf.
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When Minucius had done speaking, Sicinius the tribune came forward and said that he would neither betray the liberty of the plebeians himself nor willingly permit others to betray it, but if the patricians really consented that the man should be tried by the plebeians, he would take their votes and do nothing more. After this Minucius came forward and said: "Since you are eager, tribunes, that a vote shall be taken by all means concerning this man, let not your accusations go beyond the formal charge, but, as you have alleged that he aims at tyranny, show this and bring your evidence to prove it. But neither mention nor charge him with the words you accuse him of having spoken in the senate against the people. For the senate has voted to acquit him of this accusation and has thought proper that he should appear before the people upon specific charges." And he thereupon read out the preliminary decree. Having said this and adjured them to adhere to it, he descended from the tribunal. Sicinius was the first of the tribunes to set forth the charge, which he did in a very studied and elaborate speech, attributing everything the man had continued to say or do against the people to a design to set up tyranny. Then, after him, the most influential of the tribunes spoke.
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When Marcius was given an opportunity to speak,he began from his earliest youth and enumerated all the campaigns he had made in the service of the commonwealth, the crowns he had received from the generals as rewards of victory, the foes he had taken captive and the citizens he had saved in battle; and in each instance that he mentioned he displayed his rewards, cited the generals as witnesses, and called by name upon the citizens whom he had saved. These came forward with lamentations and entreated their fellow−citizens not to destroy as an enemy the man to whom they owed their preservation, begging one life in return for many and offering themselves in his stead to be treated by them as they thought fit. The greater part of them were plebeians and men extremely useful to the commonwealth; and their countenances and their entreaties roused such a sense of shame in the people that they were moved to pity and tears. Then Marcius, rending his garments, showed his breast full of wounds and every other part of his body covered with scars, and asked them if they thought that to save one's fellow−citizens in war and to destroy in time of peace those thus saved were actions of the same kind of person, and if anyone who is endeavouring to set up a tyranny ever expels from the state the common people, by whom tyranny is chiefly abetted and nourished. While he was yet speaking, those of the plebeians who were fair−minded and lovers of the right cried out to acquit him, and were ashamed that a man who had so often scorned his own life to preserve them all was even being brought to trial in the first place upon such a charge. Those, however, who were by nature malevolent, enemies of the right, and easy to be led into any kind of sedition were sorry they were going to have to acquit him, but felt that they could not do otherwise, since they could find no evidence of his having aimed at tyranny, which was the point upon which they had been called to give their votes.
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when this had been observed by Decius, the one who had spoken in the senate and prevailed on them to pass the decree for the trial, he rose up, and having commanded silence, said: "Since, plebeians, the patricians acquit Marcius of the words he spoke in the senate and of the violent and overbearing deeds that followed because of them, and do not permit us, either, to accuse him, hear what other deed, quite apart from words, this honourable man has been guilty of toward you, how insolent and tyrannical a deed, and learn what law of yours he, though a private citizen, has broken. You all know, of course, that the law ordains that all the spoils we are able to take from the enemy by our valour shall belong to the public and that not only no private citizen has the disposition of them, but not even the general of our forces himself; but the quaestor, taking them over, sells them and turns the proceeds over to the public treasury. And this law, during all the time our city has been inhabited, not only has been violated by no one, but has not even been criticized as being a bad law. But Marcius here is there is and only man who, in contempt of this law while it stood and was valid, has thought fit, plebeians, to appropriate to himself the spoils which belong to us in common; and this was only last year, not long ago. For when you made an incursion into the territory of the Antiates and captured many prisoners, many cattle, and a great quantity of corn, together with many other effects, he neither reported these to the quaestor nor sold them himself and turned the proceeds over to the public treasury, but distributed and gave as a present to his own friends the entire booty. This action, now, I aver to be a proof of his aiming at tyranny. What else could it be, when he used the public funds to gratify his flatterers, his bodyguards, and the accomplices in the tyranny he meditated? And this I maintain to be an open violation of the law. Let Marcius, then, come forward and show one of two things − either that he did not distribute among his friends the spoils he took from the enemy's country, or that in doing so he is not violating the laws. But neither of these things will he be able to say to you. For you yourselves are acquainted with both matters − with the law and with what he did. And if you acquit him, your decision cannot possibly be regarded as in accordance with justice and your oaths. Say naught, then, about your crowns, your rewards of valour, your wounds, and all the rest of that claptrap, and answer to these points, Marcius: for now I yield the floor to you."
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This accusation caused a great shift in sentiment to the other side. For those who were more reasonable and were zealously working for the acquittal of Marcius, upon hearing these things, grew less confident, and all the malevolent, who constituted the larger part of the Potomac and were of course eager to destroy him at all costs, were still more encouraged in their purpose now that they had got hold of an important and clear ground for their attack. For the distribution of the spoils was a fact, though it had been made without any evil intent and not for the setting up of a tyranny, as Decius charged, but from only the best of motives and for the correction of the evils that beset the commonwealth. For as the sedition still continued at that time and the populace was then divided from the patricians, their enemies, despising them, made raids into their country and plundered it without intermission; and whenever the senate decided to send out an army to stop these raids, none of the plebeians would serve in it, but rejoiced at what was happening and permitted it to continue; and the force of the patricians alone was inadequate. Marcius, observing this, promised the consuls that he would march against the enemy with an army of volunteers if they would give him the command of it, and would soon take revenge on them; and having received authority to do so, he called together his clients and friends and such of the citizens as wished to share in the advantages expected from the general's good fortune in war and his valour. When he thought an adequate force had assembled, he led them against the enemy, who had no previous knowledge of his purpose. And making an incursion into their country, which was well stocked with many good things, and capturing a vast amount of booty, he permitted his soldiers to divide up all the spoils among themselves, to the end that both those who had assisted him in this expedition, by receiving the fruit of their labours, might cheerfully engage in the service upon other occasions, and the others who had declined it, considering all the benefits they had lost through their sedition, when they might have shared in them, might act with greater prudence in the case of future expeditions. Such was the intention of Marcius in this affair; but to the festering anger and envy of enemies the action, when considered by itself, appeared a kind of flattery of the people and a bribery tending toward tyranny. As a result the whole Forum was full of clamour and tumult and neither Marcius himself nor the consul nor anyone else had any answer to make to the charge, so incredible and unexpected did it appear to them. When nothing further was said in his defense, the tribunes called upon the tribes to cast their votes, and fixed perpetual banishment as the penalty in the case. This, I suspect, was due to their fear that he could not be convicted if death were set as the penalty. After they had all voted and the votes were counted, the difference was found to be slight. For out of the twenty−one tribes that were then in existence and gave their votes Marcius had nine in favour of his acquittal; so that if two more tribes had joined his side, he would have been acquitted as the result of the equal division of the votes, as the law prescribed.
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This was the first summoning of a patrician before the tribunal of the plebeians; and from this time it became customary for those who afterwards assumed the patronship of the people to summon to stand trial before the people any of the citizens they thought fit. From this beginning the people rose to great power, while the aristocracy lost much of its ancient dignity by admitting the plebeians into the senate and allowing them to stand as candidates for magistracies, by not opposing their presiding over sacrifices, and by sharing with all the citizens the other privileges that were most highly prized and had been the special prerogatives of the patricians, some of which concessions they made because of necessity and against their will, and others through foresight and wisdom; but of these matters I shall speak at the proper time. However, this custom of summoning the men of power at Rome to a trial where the populace were always in control, would afford rich material for comment to those who are disposed either to commend or to blame it. For many good and worthy men have already been treated in a manner unworthy of their merits and have been put to a shameful and miserable death at the instigation of the tribunes, while many men of arrogant and tyrannical dispositions, being compelled to give an accounting of their lives and conduct, have suffered the punishment they deserved. Whenever these verdicts were rendered with the best motives and the pride of the mighty was justly humbled, this institution appeared a great and admirable thing, and met with general praise, but when a virtuous and able statesman incurred hatred and was unjustly done away with, the rest of the world was shocked at the institution and the authors of it were condemned. The Romans have often deliberated whether they should repeal this institution or preserve it as they received it from their ancestors, but have never come to any final decision. If I am to express an opinion myself concerning matters of so great moment, I believe that the institution, considered by itself, is advantageous, and absolutely necessary to the Roman commonwealth, but that it becomes better or worse according to the character of the tribunes. For when this power falls into the hands of just and prudent men, who prefer the interest of the public to their own, the punishing as he deserves of one who has injured his country strikes terror into the minds of all who are prepared to mankind similar offenses, while the good man who enters public life with the best intentions neither incurs the disgrace of being brother to trial nor is accused of wrongdoing inconsistent with his habits. But when wicked, intemperate and avaricious men gain so great power, the contrary of all this happens. Hence, instead of reforming the institution as faulty, they ought to consider by what means good and worthy men may become protectors of the people, and positions of the greatest importance may not be conferred at random on the first who chance to turn up.
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Such were the causes and such was the outcome of the first sedition that arose among the Romans after the expulsion of the kings. I have related these at length, to the end that no one may wonder how the patricians ever consented to entrust the populace with so great power, when there had been no slaying or banishing of the best citizens, as has happened in many other states. For everyone, upon hearing of extraordinary events, desires to know the cause that produced them and considers that alone as the test of their credibility. I reflected, accordingly, that my account of this affair would gain little or no credit if I contented myself with saying that the patricians resigned their power to the plebeians and that, though they might have continued to live under an aristocracy, they put the populace in control of the most important matters, and if I left out the motives for their making these concessions; and for this reason I have related them all. And since they did not make this change in their government by using compulsion upon one another and the force of arms, but by the persuasion of words, I thought it necessary above all things to report the speeches which the heads of both parties made upon that occasion. I might express my surprise that some historians, though they think themselves obliged to give an exact account of military actions and sometimes expend a great many words over a single battle, describing the terrains, the peculiarities of armament, the ways the lines were drawn up, the exhortations of the generals, and every other circumstance that contributed to the victory of one side or the other, yet when they come to give an account of civil commotions and seditions, do not consider it necessary to report the speeches by which the extraordinary and remarkable events were brought to pass. For if there is anything about the Roman commonwealth that is worthy of great praise and deserving of imitation by all mankind, or, rather, anything that surpasses in its lustre all the many things which deserve our admiration, it is in my opinion this fact − that neither the plebeians in contempt of the patricians took up arms against them, and after murdering many of the best men, seized all their fortunes, nor, on the other hand, the men in positions of dignity either by themselves alone or with the aid of foreign troops destroyed all the plebeians and after that lived in the city free from fear, but conferring together about what was fair and just, like brothers with brothers or children with their parents in a well−governed family, they settled their controversies by persuasion and reason and never allowed themselves to commit any irreparable or wicked deeds against one another, such as the Corcyraeans committed at the time of their sedition, and also the Argives, the Milesians, and all Sicily, as well as many other states. For these reasons, therefore, I have chosen to make my narration accurate rather than brief; but let everyone judge of the matter as he thinks fit.
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On the occasion in question, then, when the trial had resulted as I have related, the populace when dismissed had acquired a spirit of frantic jubilation and thought they had destroyed the aristocracy, whereas the patricians were cast down and dejected, and blamed Valerius, by whose persuasion they had been induced to entrust the trial to the populace; and there were lamentations and tears on the part of those who pitied Marcius and escorted him to his home. But Marcius himself was not seen either to bewail or to lament his own fate or to say or do the least thing unworthy of his greatness of soul; and he showed still greater nobility and resolution when he reached home and saw his wife and mother rending their robes, beating their breasts, and uttering the lamentations natural in such calamities to women who are being separated from their dearest relations by death or banishment. For he was not moved at all by the tears and lamentations of the women, but merely saluted them and exhorted them to bear their misfortunes with firmness; then, recommending his sons to them (the elder son was ten years old and the younger still a child in arms) and without showing any other mark of tenderness or making provision for what would be needed in his banishment, he departed in haste to the gates of the city, informing no one to what place he proposed to retire.
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A few days after this the time came for the election of magistrates, and Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus and Spurius Larcius Flavus were chosen consuls by the people, the latter for the second time. Sundry disturbances fell upon the commonwealth as the result of prodigies, and these were many; for unusual sights appeared to many, and voices too were heard, though no one uttered them; births of children and cattle, so very abnormal as to approach the incredible and the monstrous, were reported; oracles were uttered in many places; and women possessed with a divine frenzy foretold lamentable and dreadful misfortunes to the commonwealth. A kind of pestilence also visited the population and destroyed great numbers of cattle; however, not many persons died of it, the mischief going no farther than sickness. Some thought that these things had occurred by the will of Heaven, which was angry with them for having banished from the country the most deserving of all their citizens, while others held that nothing that took place was the work of Heaven, but that both these and all other human events were due to chance. Afterwards, a certain man named Titus Latinius, being ill, was brought to the senate−chamber in a litter; he was a man advanced in years and possessed of a competent fortune, a farmer who did his own work and passed the greater part of his life in the country. This man, having been carried into the senate, said that Jupiter Capitolinus had, as he thought, appeared to him in a dream and said to him: "Go, Latinius, and tell your fellow−citizens that in the recent procession they did not give me an acceptable leader of the dance, in order that they may renew the rites and perform them over again; for I have not accepted these." He added that after awaking he had disregarded the vision, looking upon it as one of the deceitful dreams that are so common. Later, he said, the same vision of the god, appearing to him again in his sleep, was angry and displeased with him for not having reported to the senate the orders he had received, and threatened him that, if he did not do so promptly, he should learn by the experience of some great calamity not to neglect supernatural injunctions. After seeing this second dream also he had formed the same opinion of it, and at the same time had felt ashamed, being a farmer who did his own work and old, to report to the senate dreams full of foreboding and terrors, for fear of being laughed at. But a few days later, he said, his son, who was young and handsome, had been suddenly snatched away by death without any sickness or any other obvious cause. And once more the vision of the god had appeared to him in his sleep and declared that he had already been punished in part for his contempt and neglect of the god's words by the loss of his son, and should soon suffer the rest of his punishment. When he heard this, he said, he had received the threats with pleasure, in the hope that death would come to him, weary of life as he was; but the god did not inflict this punishment upon him, but sent such intolerable and cruel pains into all his limbs that he could not move a joint without the greatest effort. Then at last he had informed his friends of what had happened, and by their advice had now come to the senate. While he was giving this account his pains seemed to leave him by degrees; and after he had related everything, he rose from the litter, and having invoked the god, went home on foot through the city in perfect health.
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Upon this the senators were filled with fear and everyone was speechless with astonishment, being at a loss to guess what the god's message meant, and who was the leader of the dance in the procession who appeared unacceptable to him. At least one of them, recalling the incident, related it to the rest and all of them confirmed it by their testimony. It was this Roman citizen of no obscure station, having ordered one of his slaves to be put to death, delivered him to his fellow−slaves to be led away, and in order that his punishment might be witnessed by all, directed them to drag him through the Forum and every other conspicuous part of the city as they whipped him, and that he should go ahead of the procession which the Romans were at that time conducting in honour of the god. The men ordered to lead the slave to his punishment, having stretched out both his arms and fastened them to a piece of wood which extended across his breast and shoulders as far as his wrists, followed him, tearing his naked body with whips. The culprit, overcome by such cruelty, not only uttered ill−omened cries, forced from him by the pain, but also made indecent movements under the blows. This man, accordingly, they all thought to be the unacceptable dancer signified by the god.
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Since I have come to this part of my history, I believe I ought not to omit mention of the rites performed by the Romans on the occasion of this festival. I do this, not in order to render my narration more agreeable by dramatic embellishments and flowery descriptions, but to win credence for an essential matter of history, namely, that the peoples which joined in founding the city of Rome were Greek colonies sent out from the most famous places, and not, as some believe, barbarians and vagabonds. For I promised at the end of the first Book, which I composed and published concerning their origin, that I would demonstrate this thesis by countless proofs, by citing time−honoured customs, laws and institutions which they preserve down to my time just as they received them from their ancestors. For I believe that it is not enough that those who write the early histories of particular lands should relate them in a trustworthy manner as they have received them from the inhabitants of the country, but that these accounts require also for their support numerous and indisputable testimonies, if they are to appear credible. Among such testimonies I am convinced that the first and the most valid of all are the ceremonies connected with the established worship of the gods and other divinities which are performed in the various states. These both the Greeks and barbarian world have preserved for the greatest length of time and have never thought fit to make any innovation or intrenchment, being restrained from doing so by their fear of the divine anger. This has been the experience of the barbarians in particular, for many reasons which this is not the proper occasion for mentioning; and no lapse of time has thus far induced either the Egyptians, the Libyans, the Gauls, the Scythians, the Indians, or any other barbarian nation whatever to forget or transgress anything relating to the rites of their gods, unless some of them have been subdued by a foreign power and compelled to exchange their own institutions for those of their conquerors. Now it has not been the fate of the Roman commonwealth ever to experience such a misfortune, but she herself always gives laws to others. If, therefore, the Romans had been originally barbarians, they would have been so far from forgetting their ancestral rites and the established customs of their country, by which they had attained to so great prosperity, that they would even have made it to the interest of all their subjects as well to honour the gods according to the customary Roman ceremonies; and nothing could have hindered the whole Greek world, which is now subject to the Romans for already the seventh generation, from being barbarized if the Romans had indeed been barbarians.
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Anyone else might have assumed that the ceremonies now practised in the city were enough even by themselves to afford no slight indication of the ancient observances. But for my part, lest anyone should hold this to be weak evidence, according to that improbable assumption that after the Romans had conquered the whole Greek world they would gladly have scorned their own customs and adopted the better ones in their stead, I shall adduce my evidence from the time when they did not as yet possess the supremacy over Greece or dominion over any other country beyond the sea; and I shall cite Quintus Fabius as my authority, without requiring any further confirmation. For he is the most ancient of all the Roman historians and offers proof of what he asserts, not only from the information of others, but also from his own knowledge. This festival, therefore, the Roman senate ordered to be celebrated, as I said before, pursuant to the vow made by the dictator Aulus Postumius when he was upon the point of giving battle to the Latins, who had revolted from the Romans and were endeavouring to restore Tarquinius to power; and they ordered five hundred minae of silver to be expended every year upon the sacrifices and the games, a sum the Romans laid out on the festival till the time of the Punic War. During these holidays not only were many other observances carried out according to the customs of the Greeks, in connection with the general assemblies, the reception of strangers, and the cessation of hostilities, which it would be a big task to describe, but also those relating to the procession, the sacrifice, and the games − these are sufficient to give an idea of those I do not mention − which were as follows:
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Before beginning the games the principal magistrates conducted a procession in honour of the gods from the Capitol through the Forum to the Circus Maximus. Those who led the procession were, first, the Romans' sons who were nearing manhood and were of an age to bear a part in this ceremony, who rode on horseback if their fathers were entitled by their fortunes to be knights, while the others, who were destined to serve in the infantry, went on foot, the former in squadrons and troops, and the latter in divisions and companies, as if they were going to school; this was done in order that strangers might see the number and beauty of the youths of the commonwealth who were approaching manhood. These were followed by charioteers, some of whom drove four horses abreast, some two, and others rode unyoked horses. After them came the contestants in both the light and the heavy games, their whole bodies naked except their loins. This custom continued even to my time at Rome, as it was originally practised by the Greeks; but it is now abolished in Greece, the Lacedaemonians having put an end to it. The first man who undertook to strip and ran naked at Olympia, at the fifteenth Olympiad, was Acanthus the Lacedaemonian. Before that time, it seems, all the Greeks had been ashamed to appear entirely naked in the games, as Homer, the most credible and the most ancient of all witnesses, shows when he represents the heroes as girding up their loins. At any rate, when he is describing the wrestling−match of Aias and Odysseus at the funeral of Patroclus, he says:
And then the twain with loins well girt stepped forth
Into the lists.
And he makes this still plainer in the Odyssey upon the occasion of the boxing−match between Irus and Odysseus, in these verses:
He spake, and all approved; Odysseus then
His rags girt round his loins, and showed his thighs
So fair and stout; broad shoulders too and chest
And brawny arms there stood revealed.
And when he introduces the beggar as no longer willing to engage but declining the combat through fear, he says:
They spake, and Irus' heart was sorely stirred;
Yet even so the suitors girt his loins
By force and led him forward.
Thus it is plain that the Romans, who preserve this ancient Greek custom to this day, did not learn it from us afterwards nor even change it in the course of time, as we have done.
The contestants were followed by numerous bands of dancers arranged in three divisions, the first consisting of men, the second of youths, and the third of boys. These were accompanied by flute−players, who used ancient flutes that were small and short, as is done even to this day, and by lyre−players, who plucked ivory lyres of seven strings and the instruments called barbita. The use of these has ceased in my time among the Greeks, though traditional with them, but is preserved by the Romans in all their ancient sacrificial ceremonies. The dancers were dressed in scarlet tunics girded with bronze cinctures, wore swords suspended at their sides, and carried spears of shorter than average length; the men also had bronze helmets adorned with conspicuous crests and plumes. Each group was led by one man who gave the figures of the dance to the rest, taking the lead in representing their warlike and rapid movements, usually in the proceleusmatic rhythms. This also was in fact a very ancient Greek institution − I mean the armed dance called the Pyrrhic − whether it was Athena who first began to lead bands of dancers and to dance in arms over the destruction of the Titans in order to celebrate the victory by this manifestation of her joy, or whether it was the Curetes who introduced it still earlier when, acting as nurses to Zeus, they strove to amuse him by the clashing of arms and the rhythmic movements of their limbs, as the legend has it. The antiquity of this dance also, as one native to the Greeks, is made clear by Homer, not only in many other places, but particularly in describing the fashioning of the shield which he says Hephaestus presented to Achilles. For, having represented on it two cities, one blessed with peace, the other suffering from war, in the one on which he bestows the happier fate, describing festivals, marriages, and merriment, as one would naturally expect, he says among other things:
Youths whirled around in joyous dance, with sound
Of flute and harp; and, standing at their doors,
Admiring women on the pageant gazed.
And again, in describing another Cretan band of dancers, classing of youths and maidens, with which the shield was adorned, he speaks in this manner:
And on it, too, the famous craftsman wrought,
With cunning workmanship, a dancing−floor,
Like that which Daedalus in Cnossus wide
For fair−haired Ariadne shaped. And there
Bright youths and many−suitored maidens danced
While laying each on other's wrists their hands.
And in describing the dress of these dancers, in order to show us that the males danced in arms, he says:
The maidens garlands wore, the striplings swords
Of gold, which proudly hung from silver belts.
And when he introduces the leaders of the dance who gave the rhythm to the rest and began it, he writes:
And great the throng which stood about the dance,
Enjoying it; and tumblers twain did whirl
Amid the throng as prelude to the song.
But it is not alone from the warlike and serious dance of these bands which the Romans employed in their sacrificial ceremonies and processions that one may observe their kinship to the Greeks, but also from that which is of a mocking and ribald nature. For after the armed dancers others marched in procession impersonating satyrs and portraying the Greek dance called sicinnis. Those who represented Sileni were dressed in shaggy tunics, called by some chortaioi, and in mantles of flowers of every sort; and those who represented satyrs wore girdles and goatskins, and on their heads manes that stood upright, with other things of like nature. These mocked and mimicked the serious movements of the others, turning them into laughter−provoking performances. The triumphal entrances also show that raillery and fun−making in the manner of satyrs were an ancient practice native to the Romans; for the soldiers who take part in the triumphs are allowed to satirise and ridicule the most distinguished men, including even the generals, in the same manner as those who ride in procession in carts at Athens; the soldiers once jested in prose as they clowned, but now they sing improvised verses. And even at the funerals of illustrious persons I have seen, along with the other participants, bands of dancers impersonating satyrs who preceded the bier and imitated in their motions the dance called sicinnis, and particularly at the funerals of the rich. This jesting and dancing in the manner of satyrs, then, was not the invention either of the Ligurians, of the Umbrians, or of any other barbarians who dwelt in Italy, but of the Greeks; but I fear I should prove tiresome to some of my readers if I endeavoured to confirm by more arguments a thing that is generally conceded. After these bands of dancers came a throng of lyre−players and many flute−players, and after them the persons who carried the censers in which perfumes and frankincense were burned along the whole route of the procession, also the men who bore the show−vessels made of silver and gold, both those that were sacred owing to the gods and those that belonged to the state. Last of all in the procession came the images of the gods, borne on men's shoulders, showing the same likenesses as those made by the Greeks and having the same dress, the same symbols, and the same gifts which tradition says each of them invented and bestowed on mankind. These were the images not only of Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Neptune, and of the rest whom the Greeks reckon among the twelve gods, but also of the son of still more ancient from whom legend says the twelve were sprung, namely, Saturn, Ops, Themis, Latona, the Parcae, Mnemosyne, and all the rest to whom temples and holy places are dedicated among the Greeks; and also of those whom legend represents as living later, after Jupiter took over the sovereignty, such as Proserpina, Lucina, the Nymphs, the Muses, the Seasons, the Graces, Liber, and the demigods whose souls after they had left their mortal bodies are said to have ascended to Heaven and to have obtained the same honours as the gods, such as Hercules, Aesculapius, Castor and Pollux, Helen, Pan, and countless others. Yet if those who founded Rome and instituted this festival were barbarians, how could they properly worship all the gods and other divinities of the Greeks and scorn their own ancestral gods? Or let someone show us any other people besides the Greeks among whom these rites are traditional, and then let him censure this demonstration as unsound. After the procession was ended the consuls and the priests whose function it was presently sacrificed oxen; and the manner of performing the sacrifices was the same as with us. For after washing their hands they purified the victims with clear water and sprinkled corn on their heads, after which they prayed and then gave orders to their assistants to sacrifice them. Some of these assistants, while the victim was still standing, struck it on the temple with a club, and others received it upon the sacrificial knives as it fell. After this they flayed it and cut it up, taking off a piece from each of the inwards and also from every limb as a first−offering, which they sprinkled with grits of spelt and carried in baskets to the officiating priests. These placed them on the altars, and making a fire under them, poured wine over them while they were burning. It is easy to see from Homer's poems that every one of these ceremonies was performed according to the customs established by the Greeks with reference to sacrifices. For he introduces the heroes washing their hands and using barley grits, where he said:
Then washed their hands and took up barley−grains.
And also cutting off the hair from the head of the victim and placing it on the fire, writing thus:
And he, the rite beginning, cast some hairs,
Plucked from the victim's head, upon the fire.
He also represents them as striking the foreheads of the victims with clubs and stabbing them when they had fallen, as at the sacrifice of Eumaeus:
Beginning then the rite, with limb of oak −
One he had left when cleaving wood − he smote
The boar, which straightway yielded up his life;
And next his throat they cut and singed his hide.
And also at taking the first offerings from the inwards and from the limbs as well and sprinkling them with barley−meal and burning them upon the altars, as at that same sacrifice:
Then made the swineherd slices of raw meat,
Beginning with a cut from every limb,
And wrapping them in rich fat, cast them all
Upon the fire, first sprinkling barley−meal.
These rites I am acquainted with from having seen the Romans perform them at their sacrifices even in my time; and contented with this single proof, I have become convinced that the founders of Rome were not barbarians, but Greeks who had come together out of many places. It is possible, indeed, that some barbarians also may observe a few customs relating to sacrifices and festivals in the same manner as the Greeks, but that they should do everything in the same way is hard to believe.
Roman antiquities 7.73
It now remains for me to give a brief account of the games which the Romans performed after the procession. The first was a race of four−horse chariots, two−horse chariots, and of unyoked horses, as has been the custom among the Greeks, both anciently at Olympia and down to the present. In the chariot races two very ancient customs continue to be observed by the Romans down to my time in the same manner as they were first instituted. The first relates to the chariots drawn by three horses, a custom now fallen into disuse among the Greeks, though it was an ancient institution of heroic times which Homer represents the Greeks as using in battle. For running beside two horses yoked together in the same manner as in the case of a two−horse chariot was a third horse attached by a trace; this trace−horse the ancients called parêoros or "outrunner," because he was "hitched beside" and not yoked to the others. The other custom is the race run by those who have ridden in the chariots, a race which is still performed in a few Greek states upon the occasion of some ancient sacrifices. For after the chariot races are ended, those who have ridden with the charioteers, whom the poets call parabatai and the Athenians apobatai, leap down from their chariots and run a race with one another the length of the stadium. And after the chariot races were over, those who contended in their own persons entered the lists, that is, runners, boxers, and wrestlers; for these three contests were in use among the ancient Greeks, as Homer shows in describing the funeral of Patroclus. And in the intervals between the contests they observed a custom which was typically Greek and the most commendable of all customs, that of awarding crowns and proclaiming the honours with which they rewarded their benefactors, just as was done at Athens during the festivals of Dionysus, and displaying to all who had assembled for the spectacle the spoils they had taken in war. But as regards these customs, just as it would not have been right to make no mention of them when the subject required it, so it would not be fitting to extend my account farther than is necessary. It is now time to return to the narrative which we interrupted.
After the senate, then, had been informed, by the person who remembered the incident, of the circumstances relating to the slave who had been led to punishment by the order of his master and had gone ahead of the procession, they concluded that this slave was the unacceptable leader of the dancers mentioned by the god, as I have related. And inquiring after the master who had used his slave so cruelly, they imposed a suitable penalty upon him, and ordered another procession to be performed in honour of the god and other games to be exhibited at double the expense of the former.
These were the events of this consulship.