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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 6: Elections[210 BC]
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On the dictator's arrival in Rome he sent Gaius Sempronius Blaesus, who had been his second in command in Capua, to the army in Etruria, to relieve Gaius Calpurnius, to whom he had sent written instructions to take over the command of his own army at Capua. He fixed the earliest possible date for the elections, but they could not be closed owing to a difference between the tribunes and the Dictator. The junior century of the Galerian tribe had obtained the first place in the order of voting, and they had declared for Quintus Fulvius and Quintus Fabius. The other centuries, summoned in their order, would have gone the same way, had not two of the tribunes of the plebs Gaius Arennius and his brother Lucius intervened. They said that it was infringing the rights of his fellow-citizens for a magistrate to extend his period of office, and it was a still greater offence for the man who was conducting the elections to allow himself to be elected. If, therefore, the Dictator accepted votes for himself, they should place their veto on the proceedings, but if the names of any others than himself were put up, they would not stop the election. The Dictator defended the procedure by alleging the authority of the senate and a resolution of the Assembly as precedents. "When Gnaeus Servilius," he said, "was consul and the other consul [Note 1] had fallen in battle at Lake Thrasymenus, this question was referred by authority of the senate to the plebs, and they passed a resolution that as long as there was war in Italy the people had the right to reappoint as consuls, any who had been consuls, as often as they pleased. I have an old precedent [Note 2] for my action in this instance in the case of Lucius Postumius Megellus, who was elected consul together with Gaius Junius Bubulcus at the very election over which he was presiding as interrex, and a recent one in the case of Quintus Fabius Maximus, who would certainly never have allowed himself to be re-elected if it had not been in the interest of the State." A long discussion followed, and at last an agreement was come to between the Dictator and the tribunes that they would abide by the opinion of the senate. In view of the critical position of the State, the senate saw that the conduct of affairs ought to be in the hands of old and tried men of ability and experience in war, and that there ought to be no delay in the elections. The tribunes gave way and the elections were held. Quintus Fabius Maximus was returned as consul for the fifth time, and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus for the fourth time. The elections of praetors followed, the successful candidates being: Lucius Veturius Philo, Titus Quinctius Crispinus, Gaius Hostilius Tubulus and Gaius Aurunculeius. As soon as the magistrates were appointed for the year, Quintus Fulvius laid down his office. At the close of this summer a Carthaginian fleet of forty vesselsunder the command of Hamilcar sailed across to Sardinia and laid waste the territory of Olbia. On the appearance of the praetor Publius Manlius Vulso with his army, they sailed round to the other side of the island and devastated the district of Caralita, after which they returned to Africa with every description of plunder. Several Roman priests died this year and others were appointed in their place. Gaius Servilius was made pontiff in place of Titus Otacilius Crassus. Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Tiberius, was appointed augur in place of Titus Otacilius Crassus, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Tiberius, was similarly appointed one of the Keepers of the Sacred Books in place of Tiberius Sempronius Longus, son of Gaius. The deaths took place also of Marcus Marcius, the Rex Sacrorum, and Marcus Aemilius Papus, the Curio Maximus; these vacancies were not filled up during the year. The censors appointed this year were Lucius Veturius Philo and Publius Licinius Crassus, the Pontifex Maximus. Licinius Crassus had not been either consul or praetor before he was made censor, he went straight from the aedileship to the censorship. These censors, however, did not revise the roll of senators, nor did they transact any public business whatever; the death of Lucius Veturius put an end to their censorship, for Licinius at once resigned office. The curule aediles, Lucius Veturius and Publius Licinius Varus, celebrated the Roman Games for one day. The plebeian aediles, Quintus Catius and Lucius Porcius Licinius, devoted the money derived from fines to the casting of bronze statues for the temple of Ceres; they also celebrated the Plebeian Games with great splendour, considering the resources available at the time. |
Note 1: other consul = Gaius Flamminius
Event: Sardinia attacked
Interrex:Temporary (5 days!) head of state when the king or both consuls had died.
Pontiff / Pontifex:Member of the college of State priests
Curio Maximus:He had the supervision over the religious services of a curia.
Pontifex Maximus:Head of the college of State priests