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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book VII Chapter 5: Impeachment of Manlius (cont.)[362 BC]
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The youth himself was the last to be exasperated by these accusations brought against his father. On the contrary, he was so indignant at finding himself made the ground of the charges against his father and the deep resentment they created that he was determined to let gods and men see that he preferred standing by his father to helping his enemies. He formed a project which, though natural to an ignorant rustic and no precedent for an ordinary citizen to follow, still afforded a laudable example of filial affection. Arming himself with a knife, he went off early in the morning, without any one's knowledge, to the City, and once inside the gates proceeded straight to the house of Marcus Pomponius. He informed the porter that it was necessary for him to see his master at once, and announced himself as Titus Manlius, the son of Lucius. Pomponius imagined that he was either bringing some matter for a fresh charge, to revenge himself on his father, or was going to offer some advice as to the management of the prosecution. After mutual salutations, he informed Pomponius that he wished the business in hand to be transacted in the absence of witnesses. After all present had been ordered to withdraw, he grasped his knife and standing over the tribune's bed and pointing the weapon towards him, threatened to plunge it into him at once unless he took the oath which he was going to dictate to him, "That he would never hold an Assembly of the plebs for the prosecution of his father." The tribune was terrified, for he saw the steel glittering before his eyes, while he was alone and defenceless, in the presence of a youth of exceptional strength, and what was worse, prepared to use that strength with savage ferocity. He took the required oath and publicly announced that, yielding to violence, he had abandoned his original purpose. The plebs would certainly have been glad of the opportunity of passing sentence on such an insolent and cruel offender, but they were not displeased at the son's daring deed in defence of his parent, which was all the more meritorious because it showed that his father's brutality had not in any way weakened his natural affection and sense of duty.
Not only was the prosecution of the father dropped, but the incident proved the means of distinction for the son. That year, for the first time, the military tribunes were elected by the popular vote; previously they had been nominated by the commander-in-chief, as is the case now with those who are called Rufuli. This youth obtained the second out of six places, though he had done nothing at home or in the field to make him popular, having passed his youth in the country far from city life.
Event: Impeachment of Manlius