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Quote of the day: No man was less capable of bearing prosp
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 14: The Terentilian Law again.[461 BC]
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This trial and the discussions on the Law kept the State employed; there was a respite from foreign troubles. The patricians were cowed by the banishment of Caeso, and the tribunes, having, as they thought, gained the victory, regarded the Law as practically carried. As far as the senior senators were concerned, they abandoned the control of public affairs, but the younger members of the order, mostly those who had been Caeso's intimates, were more bitter than ever against the plebeians, and quite as aggressive. They made much more progress by conducting the attack in a methodical manner. The first time that the Law was brought forward after Caeso's flight they were organised in readiness, and on the tribunes furnishing them with a pretext, by ordering them to withdraw, they attacked them with a huge army of clients in such a way that no single individual could carry home any special share of either glory or odium. The plebeians complained that for one Caeso thousands had sprung up. During the intervals when the tribunes were not agitating the Law, nothing could be more quiet or peaceable than these same men; they accosted the plebeians affably, entered into conversation with them, invited them to their houses, and when present in the Forum even allowed the tribunes to bring all other questions forward without interrupting them. They were never disagreeable to any one either in public or private, except when a discussion commenced on the Law; on all other occasions they were friendly with the people. Not only did the tribunes get through their other business quietly, but they were even reelected for the following year, without any offensive remark being made, still less any violence being offered. By gentle handling they gradually made the plebs tractable, and through these methods the Law was cleverly evaded throughout the year.