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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VIII Chapter 12: Antiates and Pedum[340-39 BC]
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The war having been thus brought to a close, and rewards and punishments having been meted out to each according to their deserts, Titus Manlius returned to Rome. There seems good reason for believing that only the older men went out to meet him on his arrival, the younger part of the population showed their aversion and detestation for him not only then but all through his life. |
The Antiates made incursions into the territories of Ostia, Ardea, and Solonia. Manlius' health prevented him from prosecuting this war, so he nominated Lucius Papirius Crassus as dictator, and he named Lucius Papirius Cursor as his Master of the Horse. No important action was taken by the dictator against the Antiates, though he had a permanent camp in their country for some months.
This year had been signalised by victories over many powerful nations, and still more by the noble death of one consul, and the stern, never-to-be-forgotten exercise of authority on the part of the other. It was followed by the consulship of Titus Aemilius Mamercinus and Quintus Publilius Philo. They did not meet with similar materials out of which to build a reputation, nor did they study the interests of their country so much as their own or those of the political factions in the republic. The Latins resumed hostilities to recover the domain they had lost, but were routed in the Fenectane plains and driven out of their camp. There Publilius, who had achieved this success, received into surrender the Latin cities who had lost their men there, whilst Aemilius led his army to Pedum. This place was defended by a combined force from Tibur, Praeneste, and Velitrae, and help was also sent from Lanuvium and Antium. In the various battles the Romans had the advantage, but at the city itself, and at the camp of the allied forces which adjoined the city, their work had to be done all over again. The consul suddenly abandoned the war before it was brought to a close, because he heard that a triumph had been decreed to his colleague, and he actually returned to Rome to demand a triumph before he had won a victory. The senate were disgusted at this selfish conduct, and made him understand that he would have no triumph till Pedum had either been taken or surrendered. This produced a complete estrangement between Aemilius and the senate, and he thenceforth administered his consulship in the spirit and temper of a seditious tribune. As long as he was consul he perpetually traduced the senate to the people, without any opposition from his colleague, who himself also belonged to the plebs. Material for his charges was afforded by the dishonest allocation of the Latin and Falernian domain amongst the plebs, and after the senate, desirous of restricting the consul's authority, had issued an order for the nomination of a dictator to act against the Latins, Aemilius, whose turn it then was to have the fasces, nominated his own colleague, who named Junius Brutus as his Master of the Horse. He made his dictatorship popular by delivering incriminatory harangues against the senate and also by carrying three measures (1) which were directed against the nobility and were most advantageous to the plebs. One was that the decisions of the plebs should be binding on all the Quirites; the second, that measures which were brought before the Assembly of centuries should be sanctioned by the patricians before being finally put to the vote; the third, that since it had come about that both censors could legally be appointed from the plebs, one should in any case be always chosen from that order. The patricians considered that the consul and the dictator had done more to injure the State by their domestic policy than to strengthen its power by their successes in the field.
(1): These measures practically annihilated the Assembly of Curies as a political power. The first appears to have been a more stringent reenactment of the Valerian and Horatian Law (see Vol. I. p. 201). The second "abolished the right of the patrician senate to reject a decree of the community as unconstitutional in so far that it had to bring forward its constitutional objections, if it had any such, when the list of candidates was exhibited or the project of law brought in; which practically amounted to a regular announcement of its consent beforehand" (Mommsen, I. 297). The third deprived the patricians of the chance of misusing the uncontrolled powers of the censorship as in the case of Mamercus (Vol. I. pp. 247-8).