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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 10: War with Veii. Internal Troubles.[401 BC]
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The newly elected tribunes were Lucius Valerius Potitus -- for the fourth time -- Marcus Furius Camillus -- for the second time -- Manius Aemilius Mamercus -- for the third time -- Gnaeus Cornelius Cossus -- for the second time -- Kaeso Fabius Ambustus, and Lucius Julius Julus. Their year of office was marked by many incidents at home and abroad. There was a multiplicity of wars going on at once -- at Veii, at Capena, at Falerii, and against the Volscians for the recovery of Anxur. In Rome the simultaneous demands of the levy and the war-tax created distress; there was a dispute about the co-opting of tribunes of the plebs, and the trial of two men who had recently held consular power caused great excitement. |
The consular tribunes made it their first business to raise a levy. Not only were the "juniors" enrolled, but the "seniors" were also compelled to give in their names that they might act as City guards. But the increase in the number of soldiers necessitated a corresponding increase in the amount required for their pay, and those who remained at home were unwilling to contribute their share because, in addition, they were to be harassed by military duties in defence of the City, as servants of the State. This was in itself a serious grievance, but it was made to appear more so by the seditious harangues of the tribunes of the plebs, who asserted that the reason why military pay had been established was that one half of the plebs might be crushed by the war-tax, and the other by military service. One single war was now dragging along into its third year, and it was being badly managed deliberately in order that they might have it the longer to manage. Then, again, armies had been enrolled for four separate wars in one levy, and even boys and old men had been torn from their homes. There was no difference made now between summer and winter, in order that the wretched plebeians might never have any respite. And now, to crown all, they even had to pay a war-tax, so that when they returned, worn out by toil and wounds, and last of all by age, and found all their land untilled through want of the owner's care, they had to meet this demand out of their wasted property and return to the State their pay as soldiers many times over, as though they had borrowed it on usury.
What with the levy and the war-tax and the preoccupation of men's minds with still graver anxieties, it was found impossible to get the full number of plebeian tribunes elected. Then a struggle began to secure the co-optation of patricians into the vacant places. This proved to be impossible, but in order to weaken the authority of the Trebonian Law, it was arranged, doubtless through the influence of the patricians, that Gaius Lucerius and Marcus Acutius should be co-opted as tribunes of the plebs.
Event: Siege of Veii, 401 BC
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