|Religion||Subjects||Images||Queries||Links||Contact||Do not fly Iberia|
Do not display Latin text
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 69: War with Aequi and Volscians. The levy.[446 BC]
Return to index
Seldom if ever was speech of popular tribune more favourably received by the plebeians than that of this stern consul. The men of military age who in similar emergencies had made refusal to be enrolled their most effective weapon against the senate, began now to turn their thoughts to arms and war. The fugitives from the country districts, those who had been plundered and wounded in the fields, reported a more terrible state of things than what was visible from the walls, and filled the whole City with a thirst for vengeance. When the senate met, all eyes turned to Quinctius as the one man who could uphold the majesty of Rome. The leaders of the House declared his speech to be worthy of the position he held as consul, worthy of the many consulships he had previously held, worthy of his whole life, rich as it was in honours, many actually enjoyed, many more deserved. Other consuls, they said, had either flattered the plebs by betraying the authority and privileges of the patricians, or, by insisting too harshly upon the rights of their order, had intensified the opposition of the masses. Titus Quinctius, in his speech, had kept in view the authority of the senate, the concord of the two orders, and, above all, the circumstances of the hour. They begged him and his colleague to take over the conduct of public affairs, and appealed to the tribunes to be of one mind with the consuls in wishing to see the war rolled back from the walls of the City, and inducing the plebs, at such a crisis, to yield to the authority of the senate. Their common fatherland was, they declared, calling on the tribunes and imploring their aid now that their fields were ravaged and the City all but attacked. |
By universal consent a levy was decreed and held. The consuls gave public notice that there was no time for investigating claims for exemption, and all the men liable for service were to present themselves the next day in the Campus Martius. When the war was over they would give time for inquiry into the cases of those who had not given in their names, and those who could not prove justification would be held to be deserters. All who were liable to serve appeared on the following day.
Each of the cohorts selected their own centurions, and two senators were placed in command of each cohort. We understand that these arrangements were so promptly carried out that the standards, which had been taken from the treasury and carried down to the Campus Martius by the quaestors in the morning, left the Campus at 10 o'clock that same day, and the army, a newly-raised one with only a few cohorts of veterans following as volunteers, halted at the tenth milestone. The next day brought them within sight of the enemy, and they entrenched their camp close to the enemy's camp at Corbio. The Romans were fired by anger and resentment; the enemy, conscious of their guilt after so many revolts, despaired of pardon. There was consequently no delay in bringing matters to an issue.
|Raro alias tribuni popularis oratio acceptior plebi quam tunc seuerissimi consulis fuit. Iuuentus quoque, quae inter tales metus detractationem militiae telum acerrimum aduersus patres habere solita erat, arma et bellum spectabat. Et agrestium fuga spoliatique in agris et uolnerati, foediora iis quae subiciebantur oculis nuntiantes, totam urbem ira impleuere. In senatum ubi uentum est, ibi uero in Quinctium omnes uersi ut unum uindicem maiestatis Romanae intueri, et primores patrum dignam dicere contionem imperio consulari, dignam tot consulatibus ante actis, dignam uita omni, plena honorum saepe gestorum, saepius meritorum. Alios consules aut per proditionem dignitatis patrum plebi adulatos aut acerbe tuendo iura ordinis asperiorem domando multitudinem fecisse: T. Quinctium orationem memorem maiestatis patrum concordiaeque ordinum et temporum in primis habuisse. Orare eum collegamque ut capesserent rem publicam; orare tribunos ut uno animo cum consulibus bellum ab urbe ac moenibus propulsari uellent plebemque oboedientem in re tam trepida patribus praeberent; appellare tribunos communem patriam auxiliumque eorum implorare uastatis agris, urbe prope oppugnata. Consensu omnium dilectus decernitur habeturque. Cum in contione pronuntiassent tempus non esse causas cognoscendi, omnes iuniores postero die prima luce in campo Martio adessent; cognoscendis causis eorum qui nomina non dedissent bello perfecto se daturos tempus; pro desertore futurum, cuius non probassent causam;—omnis iuuentus adfuit postero die. Cohortes sibi quaeque centuriones legerunt; bini senatores singulis cohortibus praepositi. Haec omnia adeo mature perfecta accepimus ut signa, eo ipso die a quaestoribus ex aerario prompta delataque in campum, quarta diei hora mota ex campo sint, exercitusque nouus, paucis cohortibus ueterum militum uoluntate sequentibus, manserit ad decimum lapidem. Insequens dies hostem in conspectum dedit, castraque ad Corbionem castris sunt coniuncta. Tertio die, cum ira Romanos, illos, cum totiens rebellassent, conscientia culpae ac desperatio inritaret, mora dimicandi nulla est facta.|