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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 1: Pestilence in Rome.[366-5 BC]
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This year will be noteworthy for the first consulship held by a plebeian, and also for two new magistracies, the praetorship, and the curule aedileship. These offices the patricians created in their own interest as an equivalent for their concession of one consulship to the plebs, who bestowed it on Lucius Sextius, the man who had secured it for them. The patricians secured the praetorship for Spurius Furius, the son of old Camillus, and the two aedileships for Gnaeus Quinctius Capitolinus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, members of their own order. Lucius Aemilius Mamercus was elected from the patricians as colleague to Lucius Sextius. |
The main themes of discussion at the beginning of the year were the Gauls, about whom it was rumoured that after wandering by various routes through Apulia they had reunited their forces, and the Hernici, who were reported to have revolted. All preparations were deferred with the sole purpose of preventing any action from being taken by the plebeian consul; everything was quiet and silent in the City, as though a suspension of all business had been proclaimed, with the one exception of the tribunes of the plebs. They did not silently submit to the procedure of the nobility in appropriating to themselves three patrician magistrates sitting in curule chairs and clothed in the praetexta like consuls, as a set-off against one plebeian consul -- the praetor even administering justice, as though he were a colleague of the consuls and elected under the same auspices. The senate felt somewhat ashamed of their resolution by which they had limited the curule aediles to their own order; it had been agreed that they should be elected in alternate years from the plebs; afterwards it was left open.
The consuls for the following year were Lucius Genucius and Quintus Servilius. Matters were quiet as regarded domestic troubles or foreign wars, but, lest there should be too great a feeling of security, a pestilence broke aediles, and three tribunes of the plebs fell victims, and in the population generally there was a corresponding proportion of deaths. The most illustrious victim was Marcus Furius Camillus, whose death, though occurring in ripe old age, was bitterly lamented. He was, it may be truly said, an exceptional man in every change of fortune; before he went into exile foremost in peace and war, rendered still more illustrious when actually in exile by the regret which the State felt for his loss, and the eagerness with which after its capture it implored his assistance, and quite as much so by the success with which, after being restored to his country, he restored his country's fortunes together with his own. For five-and-twenty years after this he lived fully up to his reputation, and was counted worthy to be named next to Romulus, as the second founder of the City.
Event: Pestilence of 365 BC