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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXII Chapter 33: Domestic problems and elections[217 BC]
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|During the same days a Carthaginian spy, who had escaped for two years, was apprehended at Rome, and his hands having been cut off, was let go: and twenty-five slaves were crucified for forming a conspiracy in the Campus Martius; his liberty was given to the informer, and twenty thousand asses of the heavy standard. Ambassadors were also sent to Philip, king of the Macedonians, to demand Demetrius of Pharia, who, having been vanquished in war had fled to him. Others were sent to the Ligurians, to expostulate with them for having assisted the Carthaginians with their substance and with auxiliaries; and, at the same time, to take a near view of what was going on amongst the Boii and Insubrians. Ambassadors were also sent to the Illyrians to king Pineus, to demand the tribute, the day of payment of which had passed; or if he wished to postpone the day, to receive hostages. Thus, though an arduous war was on their shoulders, no attention to any one concern in any part of the world, however remote, escapes the Romans. It was made a matter of superstitious fear also, that the temple of Concord, which Lucius Manlius, the praetor, had vowed in Gaul two years ago, on occasion of a mutiny, had not been contracted for to that day. Accordingly, Gnaeus Pupius and Caeso Quinctius Flaminius, created duumviri by Marcus Aemilius, the city praetor, for that purpose, contract for the building a temple in the citadel. By the same praetor a letter was sent to the consuls, agreeably to a decree of the senate, to the effect that, if they thought proper, one of them should come to Rome to elect consuls; and that he would proclaim the election for whatever day they might name. To this it was replied by the consuls, that they could not leave the enemy without detriment to the public; that it would be better, therefore, that the election should be held by an interrex, than that one of the consuls should be called away from the war. It appeared more proper to the fathers, that a dictator should be nominated by a consul, for the purpose of holding the election Lucius Veturius Philo was nominated, who chose Manius Pomponius Matho master of the horse. These having been created with some defect, they were ordered to give up their appointment on the fourteenth day; and the state came to an interregnum.||
Standard:When an army was in camp, they were fixed in the ground, each marking the station of the cohort to which it belonged; when they were taken up it was the signal for breaking up the camp and commencing the march.
Duumvir:Committee of two men.
Interrex:Temporary (5 days!) head of state when the king or both consuls had died.
Interregnum:The time an interrex governed the state.