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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 5: The Revolt of the Latins and Campanians. Visions of the consul[340 BC]
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On their arrival in Rome, the senate assembled in the Capitol and granted them an audience. Titus Manlius, the consul, acting on the instructions of the senate, recommended them not to make war upon the Samnites, with whom the Romans had a treaty, on which Annius, as though he were a conqueror who had captured the Capitol by arms instead of an ambassador protected by the law of nations, said: |
"It is about time, Titus Manlius and senators, that you gave up treating us as though you were our suzerains, when you see the State of Latium raised by the bounty of the gods to a most flourishing position, both in population and in military power, the Samnites defeated, the Sidicines and Campanians in alliance with us, even the Volscians now making common cause with us, whilst your own colonies actually prefer the government of Latium to that of Rome. But since you cannot bring your minds to abandon your impudent claims to sovereignty, we will go so far, in recognising that we are kindred nations, as to offer peace upon the conditions of equal rights for both, since it has pleased the gods to grant equal strength to both; though we are quite able to assert the independence of Latium by force of arms. One consul must be elected from Rome, the other from Latium; the senate must contain an equal number of members from both nations; there must be one nation, one republic. And in order that there may be one seat of government and one name for all, since one side or the other must make some concession, let us, if this City really takes precedence, be all called Romans."
It so happened that the Romans had in their consul Titus Manlius, a man who was quite as proud and passionate as Annius. He was so enraged as to declare that if the senate were visited by such madness as to accept these conditions from a man from Setia, he would come with his sword drawn into the Senate-house and kill every Latin he found there. Then turning to the image of Jupiter, he exclaimed: "Hear, O Jupiter, these abominable words! Hear them, O Justice and Right! Thou, Jupiter, as though thou hadst been conquered and made captive, art to see in thy temple foreign consuls and a foreign senate! Were these the terms of the treaty, Latins, which Tullus, the king of Rome, made with your fathers of Alba, or which Lucius Tarquin made with you afterwards? Have you forgotten the battle at Lake Regillus? Are you so utterly oblivious of your defeats in the old days and of our kindness towards you?"