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HISTORY OF ROME.
Successful operations against the Æquans, and Volscians, and Prænestines.
Four new tribes added. Marcus Manlius, who defended the Capitol, being convicted of aspiring to regal power, is thrown from the Tarpeian rock. A law, proposed by two plebeian tribunes, that consuls might be chosen from among the commons, causes a long and violent contest, du. ring which, for five years, the same set of plebeian tribunes are the only magistrates in the state : is at length passed : and Lucius Sextus, one of the proposers, made the first plebeian consul. A law passed, that no person shall possess more than five hundred acres of land.
I. IN the five preceding books, I have exhibited a view of the affairs of the Romans, from the building of
Y.R.365. the city of Rome, until its capture ; under the gove,
B.C.387. ernment, first, of kings; then of consuls and dictators, decemvirs, and consular tribunes ; their foreign wars, and domestic dissensions : matters involved in obscurity, not only by reason of their great antiquity, like objects placed at such a distance as to be scarcely discernible by the eye ; but also because that, in those times, the use of letters, the only faithful guardian of the memory of events, was very rare. And besides, what
ever information might have been contained in the commentaries of the pontiffs, and other public or private records, it was almost entirely lost in the burning of the city. Henceforward, from the second origin of Rome, from whence, as from its root, receiving new life, it sprung up with redoubled health and vigour, I shall be able to give the relation of its affairs, both civil and military, with more clearness and certainty. Now, after its restoration, it leaned still, for principal support, on the same instrument which had raised it from ruin, Marcus Furius Camillus. Nor did the people suffer him to lay aside the dictatorship before the end of that year. It was judged improper that the tribunes, during whose administration the city had been taken, should preside at the elections for the year ensuing, and an interregnum was resolved on.
While the public were kept diligently employed in repairing the city, Quintus Fabius, as soon as he went out of office, had a prosecution instituted against him by Caius Marcius, a tribune of the commons, for having, while in the character of ambassador, contrary to the law of nations, acted in arms against the Gauls, with whom he had been sent as a minister to negotiate: he escaped standing his trial, by a death so opportune, that most people believed it voluntary. The interregnum commenced. Publius Cornelius Scipio was interrex; and, after him, Marcus Furius Camillus a second time.
He elected military tribunes, with consular power, Y.R.366.
Lucius Valerius Poplicola a second time, Lucius B.C.386.
Virginius, Publius Cornelius, Aulus Manlius, Lucius Æmilius, and Lucius Postumius. These, enteringon office, immediately on the conclusion of the interregnum, consulted the senate on no other business previous to that which related to religion. They ordered, in the first place, that a collection should be made of the treaties and laws which could be found. The latter consisted of the twelve tables, and some laws enacted