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ers, that Drusus received the only expressions of gratitude and of fidelity. He, still undisturbed, informed the Senate that he could have hindered their act, had he so desired, but that its consequences were far more injurious to them than to him ; 25 and having made this show of confidence before them, he turned, with all the vehemence of wounded pride, to the Italians, 26 resolved to make their claims the instruments of his own rehabilitation. Already, perhaps in concert with him, there seems to have been formed or planned a league amongst the eminent Italians, if not amongst the people at large; and of this, on his disgrace, he was chosen the patron or the chief. The oath of fidelity to him was then, apparently, taken by all the principal confederates : “ I swear,” such being its terms, “ to have the same friends and the same foes with Drusus, and to spare neither my own life nor that of children or parents in his service and for the good of my associates. And if I become a citizen by the law of Drusus, I swear to hold to Rome as my country and to Drusus as my greatest benefactor. And I will communicate the oath I have here taken to as many of my companions as I can.” 27 The oath was followed up by energetic action. Secret meetings were convened by night; armed crowds were assembled by day; and though the plans of the association were kept concealed amongst its leaders, every follower they had was trustful and determined.
Some looked for honor, more for triumph, however used, but most, perhaps, for the mere wantonness of insurrection, however ended.
On the other hand, the Romans, especially the aristocracy, had taken alarm at the reports brought in on all sides, and confirmed by the increasing throngs of strangers in the streets, by whom, says one of the historians, the city seemed to be besieged.28 But it was with no want of zeal or hopefulness amongst any class that the necessary precautions against conspiracy or open rebellion were adopted; and when Drusus appeared before the Tribes, perhaps with the intent of urging the admission of the Italians, he was received with such an outcry of indignation that he lost his courage and fainted dead away. After a short retirement, caused, as some said, by fear, rather, as is probable, by actual illness in consequence of overexcitement, he came forth again, weary of his enterprise,29 but surrounded by his Italians,30 and determined to carry their enfranchisement by force, if it could not be obtained in peace. The accounts of his end vary; but it would appear, that, while he hindered his adherents from committing any bloodshed,31 he was himself the victim of assassins amongst his foes. He fell, stabbed at his own door or in his own hall, and, murmuring that the Commonwealth could not hope for another citizen like him, he died before his mother's eyes. None grieved for his death or thought it undeserved,52 save she, who bore her loss « with magnanimity,” 33 and his Italian followers, who swore they would have revenge.
28 Flor., III. 17.
29 See the story told by Seneca, De Brev. Vit., 6.
30 Vell. Pat., II. 14.
31 De Vir. Ill., LXVI. App., Bell. Civ., 1. 36.
Drusus was scarcely cold, when one of the succeeding Tribunes, named Quintus Varius,34 came forward with a bill directed against all citizens who had secretly or openly favored the hopes of the Italians in the late commotions.35 The design of the bill and of the party to which it gave voice was not so much to dishearten the Italians as to aggrieve the citizens, in other words, the Senators, who had sided with Livius Drusus through the first movements of his tribunate. It was in behalf of these Senators that Varius's colleagues interposed against his project, and, on the other hand, to their hurt, that a body of Knights, with drawn swords, obliged the Tribunes to yield, and easily forced the bill through the assembly. Several of the most eminent Senators were straightway summoned to take their trial; but some of them preferred a voluntary exile to the almost certain hazard of appearing before judges picked from their enemies, the Knights, with whom, in consequence of the repeal of Drusus's law, 36 all judicial authority remained. If, in the midst of so desperate contentions amongst the aristocracy at Rome, there was any real consideration
32 “ Matura ut in tali discrimine 35 App., Bell. Civ., I. 37; with mors abstulit.” Flor., III. 17. which compare Val. Max., VIII.
33 Senec., Ad Marc. Consol., 16. 6. 4.
34 Further named Hybrida, being 36 See notes 18, 24, and text. born of a Spanish mother. “ Vastus homo atque fædus," says Cicero of him, De Orat., I. 25.
for or against the Italians, on whose account the Senators were nominally assailed, it may have been argued, and with great success amongst the Knights and the lower classes on the same side, that a few further examples were needed to deepen the chill which the death of Drusus had cast upon the cause of the strangers.
Among the most gallant of those who confided their wrongs and their demands to the murdered Tribune, none was more forward in zeal or in ability than Pompædius Silo, by birth a Marsian. Admitted to the closest familiarity by Drusus, and received as an inmate of his household, he one day came in with some friends where the two nephews of his host, boys of four to six years old, were sitting or playing together alone. Instead of joining in their game or entering into their prattle with one another, the Marsian, fresh, perhaps, from some conference with his leader, in which his ardor had very likely been rebuffed, appealed to the boys, more solemnly than sportively: — “Say, now, that ye will entreat your uncle to have us made free citizens !” The eldest smiled and nodded assent. But the youngest kept his peace, even when asked again; and though Pompædius took him up as if to throw him from the window, the child would make no promise of the assistance which the Italian pretended to desire. Pompædius set him down, remarking to the friends who had accompanied him and beheld the scene, how well it was for them that the little hero was still so
young. 37 This boy, stem and fearless beyond his years, was Porcius Cato. His behaviour is a strong instance of the feelings excited against the Italians, even in the family of their leader, and much more, of course, in the city of their arrogant rulers.
But the arrogance and the dominion from which they had long suffered were choked in the blood of Drusus, whose murder was no sooner known throughout Italy than the league of which he had been the chief was urged upon every race and every city of the Italians. In spite of their divisions inherited from the ancient nations to which they had separately belonged, and in spite of the factions into which each different community was subdivided, there seemed to be a reasonable hope of general union. Even the Latins, or, as the historian may have rather intended, the whole Latin Name,39 more privileged on many accounts than the majority of their confederates, took hold of the league, as it extended itself north and south, until scarce a town of the lowlands or a hamlet upon the mountains but was embraced within its bonds. The Marsians, — their neighbours, the Pelignians, Frentanians, Marrucinians, and Vestinians, — north of them, the Picentians, — southwards, the Samnites, most eager of all to avenge the calamities of their forefathers, — farther on, the Apulians and Lucanians, — all these and more 40 united in the hope
37 Val. Max., III. 1. 2. The whole story is told by Plutarch in his life of Cato, 2.
38 App., Bell. Civ., I. 38.
18. But this is evidently an exag-
40 Liv., Epit. LXXII. App., Bell. Civ., I. 39.