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usury; and the other laws mentioned immediately afterwards as having been adopted by the Tribes were also, probably, of his proposal. One of these forbade the election of any person to two magistracies at once; another interdicted reëlection to the same office within ten years; and still a third declared it lawful for both Consuls to be taken from the Plebeians.26 These latter enactments were to assist the ambitious members of the lower estate who had not yet been able to obtain the honors which were nominally within their grasp; while the former law, concerning usury, was intended to relieve the poor, who were desirous of security rather than of authority in the Commonwealth. It seems as if all classes of the Plebeians, below whom none were counted citizens, must have been satisfied.
We can now proceed no farther without some clew to the warfare in which the Romans were engaged during the years subsequent to the passage of the Licinian laws. There was no such thing as peace on any side. The Etruscans and the Gauls kept up the din of battle in the north ; and on the south, there were not only the old enemies to meet repeatedly, but the circle of hostilities was so enlarged as to comprehend Latium, Campania, and even Samnium. The first war with the Samnites lasted two years ; 27 but it was only the precursor to other contests with the same people, of longer duration and severer character. 28 On the contrary, the Latins were subdued in a single war, almost in a single campaign ; 29 and other nations, who took up arms, as will be observed hereafter, were overcome apparently with so much ease as to show how rapidly and vigorously the Romans were gathering strength for conflict. Instead of fighting to defend themselves, or even to attack an enemy, they now went to battle for the sake of conquest. Within ten years after the consulship of Lucius Sextius, two new tribes were formed, in part from the conquered Volscians, and in part, perhaps, from the allied Latins.30 The following quarter of a century brought two tribes more into Rome ; 31 and still other two, making thirty-one in all, were added a few years subsequently:32 these last four being apparently composed of neighbouring people, in Latium and Campania. At the same time that the city was thus increasing with present conquests, the future marches of its armies seemed to be prepared, or, at least, foretold. A. treaty with Alexander, the adventurer-king of Epirus, 33 and two new leagues with Carthage, 34 belong to the period over which we are passing. It appears as if an impulse to enterprise and energy had been felt in every limb and every nerve; yet, after all, that these abundant energies could be developed only in the narrow way of force, instead of diffusing
2 Liv., VII. 42.
28 The second war was in A. C. 27 A. C. 340 – 338. Liv., VII. 323–303. Liv., VIII. 23, IX. 45. 31, VIII. 2. We may follow Livy's chronology from this date forward.
29 That of the great battle of Vesuvius, A. C. 337. The war actually lasted two years, to A. C. 335. Liv. VIII. 3, 6, 9, 13.
30 A. C. 357. Liv., VII. 12, 15.
32 A. C. 316. Liv., IX. 20.
34 A. C. 347. Liv., VII. 27. A. C. 305. Liv., IX. 43. Cf. Polyb., III. 24.
themselves through the thousand channels of civilization.
Our object is to study the Roman character, rather than to track the Roman campaigns; yet, in seeking the men through whom we shall best become acquainted with their nation, we are dragged, against our will, into the dust and passion of their battles. There are some brave scenes, at any rate, to be beheld. Publius Decius Mus, a Plebeian, first mentioned as one of the commissioners of insolvency,35 during the second consulship of Marcius Rutilus, and afterwards described as having, by his skill and energy, saved a whole army from the peril into which it had been brought by the Consul in command, 38 was himself elected to the consulship within a year or two later, when the Latin war was at hand, and the high places in the armies of the Commonwealth were known to need the best men who could be chosen to fill them. It was decided between Decius and his colleague, Manlius Torquatus, the same who slew his son for breach of discipline, that he whose cohorts first fell back, in the anticipated battle with the Latin forces, should devote himself to death, in faith that the gods would requite the sacrifice with victory to the survivors. Both the Consuls, the Patrician as well as the Plebeian, would have fulfilled the vow with equal courage; and it was the privilege, rather than the misfortune, of the Plebeian to prove his sincerity. In the action ensuing be
35 Liv., VII. 21.
36 Liv., VII. 34 et seq.
neath Vesuvius, the troops that served with Decius were the first to yield ; and when the gallantry of their leader proved insufficient to keep them firm against the foe, he did not hesitate an instant, but, bidding the Pontiff with the army to dictate the words by which the offering of his life might most decorously be made before the immortals, he repeated them and dashed headlong amongst the enemy, who, terrified by the death he met as much as the Romans were encouraged, soon fled, routed and overcome. 37
It seems, on reviewing the career of Decius without being reminded of factions and quarrels amongst the citizens of Rome, as if their liberty had been, at last, established in some domestic tranquillity. The great hero of the Patricians throughout these times of carnage abroad, Marcus Valerius Corvus, is another instance of the spirit which must have stirred some breasts, at any rate, to avoid the strifes of the Forum as ardently as they longed for the glories of the battle-field. First elected Consul at the age of twenty-three, and again within a twelvemonth from the expiration of his term, Valerius Corvus was two years after chosen a third time to the same office, in which, while his colleague owed his safety to Decius Mus, Valerius was overthrowing the Samnites at Gaurus and Suessula.38 The good offices which allayed the mutiny of the troops and the bondmen, in the following year, were suggested or supported
by the earnestness of Valerius for peace amongst his fellow-citizens. With such a man, bravery in warfare, though perhaps the highest, was not, at least, the only, renown to be acquired ; nor did regard for his own dignity, as the historian remarks, induce forgetfulness of the liberties or the necessities of other men.39
The next name of distinction recalls the parties and the dissensions from which there was scarcely at any time an interval of real repose. Quintus Publilius Philo, a Plebeian, like Decius, and like him, also, introduced in history as one of the commissioners for the liquidation of debts, was elected Consul the year after the death of his former colleague. On account, it was said, of a rebellion amongst the newly conquered Latins, but rather, if appearances are to be trusted, of high-running strife between the extreme and the moderate factions of the rich, both Patricians and Plebeians, the appointment of a Dictator was resolved upon, and intrusted, as of necessity, to the Patrician Consul, Æmilius Mamercinus. He, however, had been at swords' points with the extreme party ever since his entry into office, and having constantly behaved, as the old historian pronounces, more like a seditious Tribune than a true Consul,40 he now declared his colleague, Publilius, Dictator, with the understanding, apparently, that his opponents were to be humbled.
The Publilian laws were the result of the agree
39 “Haud minus libertatis alienæ seditiosis tribunatibus similem deinquam suæ dignitatis memor." Liv., de consulatum gessit.” Liv., VIII. VII. 33. Cf. Capp. 32, 40. 12. This was all in A. C. 336.
40 “ Alienatus ab senatu Æmilius