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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 11: Ardea as a colony[441 BC]
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The new consuls were Marcus Fabius Vibulanus and Postumius Aebutius Cornicinen. The previous year was regarded by the neighbouring peoples, whether friendly or hostile, as chiefly memorable because of the trouble taken to help Ardea in its peril. The new consuls, aware that they were succeeding men distinguished both at home and abroad, were all the more anxious to obliterate from men's minds the infamous judgment(1). Accordingly, they obtained a senatorial decree ordering that as the population of Ardea had been seriously reduced through the internal disturbances, a body of colonists should be sent there as a protection against the Volscians. This was the reason alleged in the text of the decree, to prevent their intention of rescinding the judgment from being suspected by the plebs and tribunes. They had, however, privately agreed that the majority of the colonists should consist of Rutulians, that no land should be allotted other than what had been appropriated under the infamous judgment, and that not a single sod should be assigned to a Roman till all the Rutulians had received their share. So the land went back to the Ardeates. Agrippa Menenius, Titus Cluilius Siculus, and Marcus Aebutius Helva were the triumvirs appointed to superintend the settlement of the colony. Their office was not only extremely unpopular, but they gave great offence to the plebs by assigning to allies land which the Roman people had formally adjudged to be their own. Even with the leaders of the patricians they were out of favour, because they had refused to allow themselves to be influenced by any of them. The tribunes impeached them, but they avoided all further vexatious proceedings by enrolling themselves amongst the settlers and remaining in the colony which they now possessed as a testimony to their justice and integrity. |
(1): See end of Book III.