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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 41: The Second Decemvirate (Cont.)[450 BC]
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Whilst a division was being taken and the younger senators were carrying this proposition, Valerius and Horatius rose again in great excitement and loudly demanded leave to discuss the political situation. If, they said, the faction in the senate prevented them, they would bring it before the people, for private citizens had no power to silence them either in the Senate-house or in the Assembly, and they were not going to give way before the fasces of a mock authority. Appius felt that unless he met their violence with equal audacity, his authority was practically at an end. "It will be better," he said, "not to speak on any subject but the one we are now considering," and as Valerius insisted that he should not keep silent for a private citizen, Appius ordered a lictor to go to him. Valerius ran to the doors of the Senate-house and invoked "the protection of the Quirites." Lucius Cornelius put an end to the scene by throwing his arms round Appius as though to protect Valerius, but really to protect Appius from further mischief. He obtained permission for Valerius to say what he wanted, and as this liberty did not go beyond words, the decemvirs achieved their purpose. The consulars and senior senators felt that the tribunitian authority, which they still regarded with detestation, was much more eagerly desired by the plebs than the restoration of the consular authority, and they would almost rather have had the decemvirs voluntarily resigning office at a subsequent period than that the plebs should recover power through their unpopularity. If matters could be quietly arranged and the consuls restored without any popular disturbance, they thought that either the preoccupation of war or the moderate exercise of power on the part of the consuls would make the plebs forget all about their tribunes. |
The levy was proclaimed without any protest from the senate. The men of age for active service answered to their names, as there was no appeal from the authority of the decemvirs. When the legions were enrolled, the decemvirs arranged among themselves their respective commands. The prominent men amongst them were Quintus Fabius and Appius Claudius. The war at home threatened to be more serious than the one abroad, and the violent disposition of Appius was deemed more fitted to repress commotions in the City, whilst Fabius was looked upon as more inclined to evil practices than to be any permanent good to them. This man, at one time so distinguished both at home and in the field, had been so changed by office and the influence of his colleagues that he preferred to take Appius as his model rather than be true to himself. He was entrusted with the Sabine war, and Manlius Rabuleius and Quintus Poetilius were associated with him in its conduct. Marcus Cornelius was sent to Algidus, together with Lucius Minucius, Titus Antonius, Kaeso Duillius, and Marcus Sergius. It was decreed that Spurius Oppius should assist Appius Claudius in the defence of the City, with an authority coordinate with that of the other decemvirs.
|In hanc sententiam ut discederetur iuniores patrum euincebant. Ferocioresque iterum coorti Valerius Horatiusque uociferari ut de re publica liceret dicere; dicturos ad populum, si in senatu per factionem non liceat; neque enim sibi priuatos aut in curia aut in contione posse obstare, neque se imaginariis fascibus eorum cessuros esse. Tum Appius iam prope esse ratus ut ni uiolentiae eorum pari resisteretur audacia, uictum imperium esset, 'non erit melius' inquit, 'nisi de quo consulimus, uocem misisse,' et ad Valerium, negantem se priuato reticere, lictorem accedere iussit. Iam Quiritium fidem implorante Valerio a curiae limine, L. Cornelius complexus Appium, non cui simulabat consulendo, diremit certamen; factaque per Cornelium Valerio dicendi gratia quae uellet, cum libertas non ultra uocem excessisset, decemuiri propositum tenuere. Consulares quoque ac seniores ab residuo tribuniciae potestatis odio, cuius desiderium plebi multo acrius quam consularis imperii rebantur esse, prope malebant postmodo ipsos decemuiros uoluntate abire magistratu quam inuidia eorum exsurgere rursus plebem: si leniter ducta res sine populari strepitu ad consules redisset, aut bellis interpositis aut moderatione consulum in imperiis exercendis posse in obliuionem tribunorum plebem adduci. Silentio patrum edicitur dilectus. Iuniores cum sine prouocatione imperium esset ad nomina respondent. Legionibus scriptis, inter se decemuiri comparabant quos ire ad bellum, quos praeesse exercitibus opporteret. Principes inter decemuiros erant Q. Fabius et Ap. Claudius. Bellum domi maius quam foris apparebat. Appi uiolentiam aptiorem rati ad comprimendos urbanos motus: in Fabio minus in bono constans quam nauum in malitia ingenium esse. Hunc enim uirum, egregium olim domi militiaeque, decemuiratus collegaeque ita mutauerant ut Appi quam sui similis mallet esse. Huic bellum in Sabinis, M'. Rabuleio et Q. Poetelio additis collegis, mandatum. M. Cornelius in Algidum missus cum L. Minucio et T. Antonio et K. Duillio et M. Sergio. Sp. Oppium Ap. Claudio adiutorem ad urbem tuendam, aequo omnium decemuirorum imperio, decernunt.|