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and drink standing, instead of sitting, so long as they continued in the army. Full of gratitude, the brave for their distinction, and the timid for their pardon, the army, no longer one of slaves, marched back to Beneventum to receive a welcome from the people there, and to rejoice 123 that they were free, as their fathers had been in more or less distant days.
The spirit which sustained the war with Hannibal, manifest in so many ways, was likewise proved by the manner in which the elections were conducted from year to year. At the close of his third consul. ship, following the disastrous year of Cannæ, Fabius Maximus returned from the army to the city, where the Centuries were gathered in the Campus Martius, to make choice of his successors under his presidency, according to the usual forms, except that, as the assembly was held without the walls, the Consul could pass into it with lictors and fasces, the signs of his absolute authority. As soon as he had opened the election, the Century called the Prærogative, because it was appointed by lot to ballot before the others, who then generally followed its example by declaring for the same candidates, gave its votes for two citizens, both respectable, but neither of them eminent for services or for capacities. The presiding Consul instantly interfered, bidding the people remember the exigencies of the times, and calling upon the Prærogative Century to reconsider the choice it had made. One of the candidates, Titus Otacilius, endeavoured to remonstrate against his rejection by the Consul's command, after the demonstration that had been made by his fellow-citizens in his behalf; but the power of Fabius, so long as the axe appeared in the fasces which his lictors carried, was more than any appeal could overcome, and Otacilius was obliged to be contented with a place in the prætorship, while Fabius himself and Claudius Marcellus were elected Consuls. 124
123 “ So pleasant was the sight be painted in the temple of Liberof them,” says Livy (XXIV. 16), ty." The owners of the slaves rein speaking of their rejoicings at fused to be paid for them until the Beneventum, “ that Gracchus, after close of the war. Liv., XXIV. he returned to Rome, ordered it to 18.
A still more striking scene of the same sort occurred at the elections some few years afterwards. The Prærogative vote had been given for the identical Otacilius whose disappointment has just been related, together with Manlius Torquatus, an old Patrician of the highest dignity and consideration. But Manlius no sooner heard his name coupled with that of Otacilius, than he approached the tribunal of the presiding magistrate, and begged that the Century which had just voted might be recalled ; and although congratulations were given him on all sides for this his third election to the consulship, he waived them aside, and, without alluding to the incompetency of Otacilius, desired simply to be excused on the score of his own infirmities, adding that the people must remember there were invaders in Italy whose chief was Hannibal. The impression made by the few
words of Manlius resulted in the return of other men as Consuls for the ensuing year.125 Undoubtedly, the elections were controlled by a self-seeking oftener than by a self-sacrificing spirit; and the example of Fabius,126 who favored, was more likely to be imitated than that of Manlius, who opposed, his own elevation. The times required, as would be said, the best men; yet the repeated choice of a few citizens, leading them to believe in a sort of hereditary right that could be established to the public honors, led straight to consequences which we can at present conjecture, but may better observe hereafter.
The time, indeed, is still far distant when the institutions whose maintenance forms the principal point in our present history were unable to punish the transgressor, whether he were high or low, who lived beneath them, without being themselves brought into any apparent danger. Not even the excitement of the wars with Carthage could overcome the reverence which the Romans, generation after generation, had been trained to show most profoundly under circumstances that seemed to dispense with it altogether; and they who yielded to the temptations or to what seem the necessities of the times were visited with the severest censure of the laws.127 But the aspect of
125 Liv., XXVI. 22.
127 As in the cases of Postumius 126 As when it was followed by Pyrgensis, for public fraud, Liv., Fulvius Flaccus, who, presiding as XXV. 3, 4; and Cneius Fulvius Dictator over an election, maintain- Flaccus, for alleged cowardice in ed that he himself should be voted command of an army, Ibid., XXVI. for, though two Tribunes said nay. 2, 3. Compare the prohibition of Liv., XXVII. 6.
strange religious rites, Ibid., XXV. 1; yet see the account of the new games, Ibid., XXV. 12.
the nation, in its still continuing prime, is that of men who obey of their own accord, because they love, rather than because they fear, their laws, and must submit against their will. When the son of the great Fabius, elected Consul for his father's sake, was in the field, the old man proceeded to the camp, with the intent of serving amongst the lieutenants of the consular army. 123 As he rode up, the soldiers thronged to meet him, and with the rest came forth the Consul, attended by his lictors, to give his father wel. come. Yet as Fabius continued his approach, without dismounting in the Consul's presence, his son sent one of his lictors to bid his father alight; at which the crowd stood wonder-struck that the greatness of their hero, says the biographer, should be so wronged.129 But Fabius dismounted and hastened on foot to embrace his son, telling him he was right to respect and to enforce the majesty of the office which he held; so gladly did the father, even in Rome, give way to the greater authority of his country's laws. It was through this temper that liberty had been won, and was now defended, amongst the Romans. 130
It has been already briefly observed, that the resolution which prevailed in Rome would have been unequal to the present contest with Carthage, had it not been supported throughout Italy by the allied and the dependent Italians. As we advance, it becomes apparent how much the division of the old
128 Liv., XXIV. 44. 129 Plut., Fab., 24.
130 As Milton says in his Sonnet to Vane:
"When gowns, not arms, repelled The fierce Epirot and the African bold."
races at the time of their conquest, by depriving them of their former peculiar associations and attaching them to the city of the conquerors, did actually contribute to the safety of the nation to whom they or their fathers had made submission. All the kindred 131 people, the Latins, the Sabines, and the Etruscans, 132 in their separate municipalities or colonies or subject towns, were more closely united to their metropolis by the very dangers that tempted the Samnites and most of the Southern Italians 133 to combine with the Carthaginians. When twelve Latin colonies returned word to Rome that they had no men or money left to furnish,134 eighteen others were the more resolved to sustain the cause ; 135 and not another colony or town was persuaded to waver with the twelve. So sturdily clung the branches to the trunk, which could not yet be reft of its vigor and its stateliness.
While Claudius Nero, Consul in the eleventh year of the war, was at the head of an army, watching the enemy in the South, the despatches of Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal, announcing his expected arrival
131 Livy would say the more Pæstum were faithful. Liv., XXII. aristocratic :-“Unus velut morbus 32, 36. So were those of Cumæ invaserat omnes Italiæ civitates, ut and Nola in Campanja, and the Penplebes ab optimatibus dissentirent; trians or Northern Samnites. Even senatus Romanis faveret, plebs ad in the revolted districts there might Penos rem traheret.” XXIV. 2. be colonists to stand fast. Cf. XXIII. 1, 6, 20, 39.
34 Liv., XXVII. 9. 132 If the dreaded revolt of some 135 See the thrilling relation which Etruscans had any foundation, it had Livy gives of the effect produced at no consequences. Liv., XXVII. 21 Rome by the fidelity of these eighet seq.
teen. XXVII. 10. 133 The people of Neapolis and