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riot and bloodshed, but the calmness and moderation of the magistrates, in giving way for the time to the desperate audaciousness of a few, in suffering themselves and the Roman people to be overcome, and rather than an occasion should be given to those, who wished for a riot, dissolving, according to the defendant's desire, the assembly, whose proceedings he intended to hinder by force of arms.” Every man of character reprobatd such conduct as its heinousness deserved, and a decree of the senate was passed, declaring such violent outrage treason against the state, and of pernicious example; on which the Carvilii, plebeian tribunes, desisting from the prosecution of the fine, immediately brought forward a capital accusation against Postumius, and ordered, that unless he gave bail, he should be taken into custody by the beadle, and carried to prison. Postumius, after giving bail, did not appear. The tribunes then proposed to the commons, and the commons passed this order, that“ if Marcus Postumius did not appear before the calends of May, and, being summoned on that day, did not answer to the charge, or show sufficient cause for his non-appearance, he should be adjudged an exile, his goods should be confiscated, and himself interdicted from fire and water*.” They then proceeded to prosecute on capital charges, and compelled to give bail, each of those who had fomented the tumult and disorder. At first, they threw into prison such as could not find security, and afterwards, even such as could; to avoid the danger of which treatment, most of those concerned went into exile. Such were the consequences of the fraud of the revenue farmers, and of their daring attempt to screen themselves from punishment.
V. An assembly was then held for the election of a chief pontiff, at which Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, the new pontiff,
There was no law which authorised the sentencing a Roman citizen, directly, to banishment: but by the interdiction above mentioned, the crimi. nal was deprived of every right of a citizen; and, it being declared unlawful to supply him with any necessary, he was compelled to go into exile.
presided. Three candidates maintained a very obstinate contest, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, now a third time consul, who had formerly served the office of censor; Titus Manlius Torquatus, distinguished likewise by two consulships and the censorship; and Publius Licinius Crassus, who was also to solicit for the office of curule ædile. The latter, young as he was, gained a complete victory over his competitors in this dispute, notwithstanding their advantages in respect of years, and the honours with which they were decorated. Before him there had not occurred, in the course of an hundred and twenty years, an instance of any person who had not sat in a curule chair, being created chief pontiff, excepting Publius Cornelus Calussa. Although the consuls found it very difficult to complete the levies of young men for the purposes of filling up vacancies in the old legions and raising new ones for the city, yet the senate forbade them to cease their endeavours, and ordered two sets of triumvirs to be appointed, one of which within, and the other beyond, the distance of fifty miles, should inspect into the number of free-born men in all the market-towns and villages, and enlist such for soldiers as had strength enough to carry arms, though they should not yet have attained the regular age for service; and that “ the plebian tribunes would be pleased to propose to the people the passing of an order, That all persons under the age of seventeen years, who should take the military oath, should be allowed their years of service, in like manner as if they had been of the age of seventeen, or older, when enlisted.” In pursuanee of this decree of the senate, two sets of triumvirs were appointed, who enlisted free-born youths in every part of the country
VI. At this time a letter was read in the senate, written from Sicily by Marcus Marcellus, relative to a request of the troops serving under Publius Lentulus. This army consisted of those who had been in the battle of Cannæ; they had been sent abroad into Sicily, as mentioned before, under a rule,
that they should not be brought home to Italy before the conclusion of the Carthaginian war. With the permission of Lentulus, they sent the most respectable among the horsemen and centurions, and a chosen number of the legionary infantry as deputies to Marcus Marcellus, to his winter-quarters; and, when they were admitted to an audience, one of them addressed him in this manner: “ Marcus Marcellus, we would have carried our remonstrances into Italy to you,
while were consul, immediately after the passing of that severe, if we may not call it unjust, decree of the senate concerning us, had we not entertained the hope, that being sent into a province full of disturbance, in consequence of the death of their kings, to maintain a war of difficulty against the united forces of the Sicilians and Carthaginians, we might, by our wounds and blood, have made satisfaction to the anger of the senate, as, in the memory of our fathers, our countrymen, taken by Pyrrhus at Heraclea, made atonement by their exertions in arms against the same Pyrrhus. Yet, Conscript Fathers, for what demerit on our part did you then conceive, or do you now retain, displeasure against us? Addressing you, Marcus Marcellus, I consider myself as addressing both the consuls and the whole senate; for had you been our consul at Cannæ, both our affairs and those of the public would have been in a happier state. Suffer me then, I beseech you, before I complain of the hardship of our situation, to clear ourselves of the guilt which is laid to our charge. If the cause of our ruin at Cannæ was not the wrath of the gods, nor the decree of fate, under whose laws the immutable series of human events is carried on in a regular chain, but misconduct in some, to whom, I pray you, is that misconduct to be imputed? To the soldiers, or to the commanders? As a soldier, I shall certainly never say any thing of my commander, especially since I know that thanks have been given him by the senate, for not having despaired of the commonwealth, and that, since his flight from Cannæ, he has been continued
in command through every succeeding year. We have heard, moreover, that others who saved their lives on that melancholy occasion, and who were then our military tribunes, sue for, and administer offices of honour, and hold the command of provinces: Is it, Conscript Fathers, that you easily grant pardon to yourselves, and to your offspring, while you inexorably pour vengeance on our worthless heads? Was it no disgrace for a consul, and other chiefs of the state, to fly, when no other hope was left; and did you send your soldiers into the field, under a particular obligation to die there? At the Allia, almost the whole army fled; at the Caudine Forks, the troops, without even attempting opposition, surrendered to the enemy; not to mention other and shameful defeats. Nevertheless, so far were these armies from having any mark of ignominy contrived for them, that the city of Rome was recovered by means of those very troops who had fled from the Allia to Veii; and the Caudine legions, who had returned without arms to Rome, being sent back armed into Samnium, sent under the yoke, that very enemy who had so lately exulted in their disgrace. But can any one make a charge of cowardice, or running away, on the troops who fought in the battle of Cannæ, in which more than fifty thousand men fell; from which the consul made his escape with only seventy · horsemen; and from which no one brought away his life, who does not owe it to the enemy's being fatigued with killing? At the time when the proposal of ransoming the prisoners was rejected, people, in general, bestowed praises on us, for having reserved ourselves for the use of the commonwealth, for having gone back to the consul to Venusia, and formed an appearance of a regular army. Now, we are in a worse condition than were those taken by an enemy in the time of our fathers: for, in their case, there was only an alteration made in their arms, in their station in the army, and in the place where they were to pitch their tents in camp; all which, however, they reversed, at once, by a strenuous exertion in
the service of the public, by one successful battle. None of them were sent into banishment; not one was precluded from the hope of serving out his legal term, and gaining a discharge; in short, they were brought face to face with an enemy, in fighting whom they might at once put an end either to their life or their dishonour. We, to whom nothing can be imputed, except that our conduct was the cause that any one Roman soldier survived the battle of Cannæ, are driven away to a distance, not only from our native country, and from Italy, but even from an enemy, to a place where we may grow old in exile, shut out from all hope, all opportunity of obliterating our disgrace, or of appeasing the wrath of our countrymen, or, in fine, of dying with honour. However, we seek not either an end of our ignominy, or the rewards of valour; we desire only permission to give a proof of our spirit, and to exercise our courage; we seek labour and danger, that we may discharge the duties of men, and of soldiers. This is now the second year, during which war is maintained in Sicily with great vigour on both sides; the Carthaginians conquer some cities, the Romans others; armies of infantry, and of cavalry, engage in battle; the operations are carried on at Syracuse by land and by sea; we plainly hear the shouts of the combatants, and the din of their arms, while we lie inactive and torpid, as if we had neither hands nor armour. With legions composed of slaves, the consul Tiberius Sempronius fought many pitched battles: they enjoy the fruits of their labour, freedom, and the rights of citizens. Let us be considered at least as slaves, purchased for the purpose of the present war. Let us be allowed to face the enemy, and to acquire freedom in battle. Do you choose to try our courage on sea, or on land; in the field, or in assaulting towns? Our petition is for the most arduous enterprizes, the greatest labour, and the utmost danger: that what ought to have happened at Cannæ, may happen as soon as possible, since the