Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: Their strength is in infantry. Some trib
Notes
Do not display Latin text
History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book IV Chapter 15: The Treason and Death of Spurius Maelius (Cont.)[439 BC]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
The populace did not know what to make of the deed and were becoming excited. The dictator ordered them to be summoned to an Assembly. He declared that Maelius had been lawfully slain, even if he were guiltless of treason, because he had refused to come to the dictator when summoned by the Master of the Horse. He, Cincinnatus, had sat to investigate the case, after it had been investigated Maelius would have been treated in accordance with the result. He was not to be dealt with like an ordinary citizen. For, though born amongst a free people under laws and settled rights, in a City from which he knew that royalty had been expelled, and in the very same year, the sons of the king's sister, children of the consul [Note 1] who liberated his country, had, on the discovery of a conspiracy for restoring royalty, been beheaded by their own father - a City from which Collatinus Tarquin the consul had been ordered to lay down his office and go into exile, because the very name of Tarquin was detested - a City in which some years later Spurius Cassius had been punished for entertaining designs of sovereignty - a City in which recently the decemvirs had been punished by confiscation, exile, and death because of a tyranny as despotic as that of kings - in that City Maelius had conceived hopes of sovereignty! And who was this man? Although no nobility of birth, no honours, no services to the State paved the way for any man to sovereign power, still it was their consulships, their decemvirates, the honours achieved by them and their ancestors and the splendour of their families that raised the ambitions of the Claudii and the Cassii to an impious height. But Spurius Maelius, to whom the tribuneship of the plebs was a thing to be wished for rather than hoped for, a wealthy corn-factor, hoped to buy the liberty of his fellow-citizens for a couple of pounds of spelt, and imagined that by throwing a little corn to them he could reduce to slavery the men who had conquered all the neighbouring States, and that he whom the State could hardly stomach as a senator would be tolerated as a king, possessing the power and insignia of Romulus, who had sprung from the gods and been carried back to the gods! His act must be regarded as a portent quite as much as a crime; for that portent his blood was not sufficient expiation, those walls within which such madness had been conceived must be levelled to the ground, and his property, contaminated by the price of treason, confiscated to the State.

Note 1: consul = Brutus

Events: Treason of Spurius Maelius, Brutus and his sons, The Treason of Spurius Cassius, Life and death of Virginia

Tumultuantem deinde multitudinem incerta existimatione facti ad contionem vocari iussit, et Maelium iure caesum pronuntiavit etiamsi regni crimine insons fuerit, qui vocatus a magistro equitum ad dictatorem non venisset. Se ad causam cognoscendam consedisse, qua cognita habiturum fuisse Maelium similem causae fortunam; vim parantem ne iudicio se committeret, vi coercitum esse. Nec cum eo tamquam cum ciue agendum fuisse, qui natus in libero populo inter iura legesque, ex qua urbe reges exactos sciret eodemque anno sororis filios regis et liberos consulis, liberatoris patriae, propter pactionem indicatam recipiendorum in urbem regum a patre securi esse percussos, ex qua Collatinum Tarquinium consulem nominis odio abdicare se magistratu atque exsulare iussum, in qua de Sp. Cassio post aliquot annos propter consilia inita de regno supplicium sumptum, in qua nuper decemuiros bonis, exsilio, capite multatos ob superbiam regiam, in ea Sp. Maelius spem regni conceperit. Et quis homo? Quamquam nullam nobilitatem, nullos honores, nulla merita cuiquam ad dominationem pandere viam; sed tamen Claudios, Cassios consulatibus, decemuiratibus, suis maiorumque honoribus, splendore familiarum sustulisse animos quo nefas fuerit: Sp. Maelium, cui tribunatus plebis magis optandus quam sperandus fuerit, frumentarium divitem bilibris farris sperasse libertatem se civium suorum emisse, ciboque obiciendo ratum victorem finitimorum omnium populum in seruitutem perlici posse, ut quem senatorem concoquere civitas vix posset regem ferret, Romuli conditoris, ab dis orti, recepti ad deos, insignia atque imperium habentem. Non pro scelere id magis quam pro monstro habendum, nec satis esse sanguine eius expiatum, nisi tecta parietesque intra quae tantum amentiae conceptum esset dissiparentur bonaque contacta pretiis regni mercandi publicarentur. Iubere itaque quaestores vendere ea bona atque in publicum redigere.