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Quote of the day: At last, after well-merited commendation
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VI Chapter 27: Unrest in the City -- War with Praeneste.[380 BC]
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After thus distinguishing himself by his skill and courage in the Volscian war and bringing the expedition against Tusculum to such a happy termination, and on both occasions treating his colleague with singular consideration and forbearance, Camillus went out of office. The consular tribunes for the next year were: Lucius Valerius (for the fifth time) and Publius (for the third time), Gaius Sergius (also for the third time). Lucius Menenius (for the second time), Publius Papirius, and Servius Cornelius Maluginensis.

This year it was found necessary to appoint censors, mainly owing to the vague rumours which were afloat about the burden of debt. The plebeian tribunes, in order to stir up ill-feeling, exaggerated the amount, while it was underestimated by those whose interest it was to represent the difficulty as due to the unwillingness rather than the inability of the debtor to pay. The censors appointed were Gaius Sulpicius Camerinius and Spurius Postumius Regillensis (1)
They commenced a fresh assessment, but the work was interrupted by the death of Postumius, because it was doubtful whether the co-optation of a colleague, in the case of the censors, was permissible. Sulpicius accordingly resigned, and fresh magistrates were appointed, but owing to some flaw in their election did not act. Religious fears deterred them from proceding to a third election; it seemed as though the gods would not allow a censorship for that year.
The tribunes declared that such mockery was intolerable. "The senate," according to them, "dreaded the publication of the assessment lists, which supplied information as to every man's property, because they do not wish the amount of the debtor to be brought to light for it would show how one half of the community was being ruined by the other half, while the debt-burdened plebs were all the time being exposed to one enemy after another. Excuses for war were being sought indiscriminately in every direction; the legions were marched from Antium to Satricum, from Satricum to Velitrae, from there to Tusculum. And now the Latins, the Hernici, and the Praenestines were being threatened with hostilities in order that the patricians might wreak their vengeance on their fellow-citizens more even than upon the enemy. They were wearing out the plebs by keeping them under arms and not allowing them any breathing time in the City or any leisure for thoughts of liberty, or any possibility for taking their place in the Assembly, where they might listen to the voice of a tribune urging the reduction of interest and the redress of other grievances. Why, if the plebs had spirit enough to recall to mind the liberties which their fathers won, they would never suffer a Roman citizen to be made over to his creditors, nor would they permit an army to be raised until an account was taken of the existing debt and some method of reducing it discovered, so that each man might know what he actually owed, and what was left for himself -- whether his person was free or whether that, too, was due to the stocks."

The premium thus put upon sedition made it at once more active. Many cases were occurring of men being made over to their creditors, and in view of a war with Praeneste, the senate, had resolved that fresh legions should be enrolled, but both these proceedings were arrested by the intervention of the tribunes, supported by the whole body of the plebs. The tribunes refused to allow the judgment debtors to be carried off; the men whose names were called for enrolment refused to answer. The senate was less concerned to insist upon the rights of creditors than to carry out the enlistment, for information had been received that the enemy had advanced from Praeneste and were encamped in the district of Gabii. This intelligence however, instead of deterring the plebeian tribunes from opposition, only made them more determined, and nothing availed to quiet the agitation in the City but the approach of war to its very walls.

(1): These appear to have been the first censors appointed since the Gaulish invasion.

Event: War with Praeneste