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of a struggle between the obstinate and the yielding elements of which the liberty of Rome was formed.
The vengeance which the old Dictator would have taken on the younger Fabius for his breach of discipline is not nearly so remarkable an instance of the obstinacy with which the Romans were inspired to uphold their laws, as the one now brought before us in the ancient histories. Papirius would have revenged an injury partly personal, and only, therefore, partly public, upon the offender; but Spurius Postumius sought to repair his own offence, whether it were a misfortune or a fault, by sacrificing himself in behalf of what was esteemed the general advantage. Consul, for the second time, in the fifth year of the same Samnite war,64 he was surprised and defeated 65 at Caudium, by Caius Pontius, the famous Samnite general, who granted terms that are represented as extremely moderate, and who, retaining some hostages, dismissed the rest of the army unharmed. The conditions of surrender, to which the Consuls and all the superior officers solemnly swore, bound the Romans to a peace they thought, and not unreasonably, disgraceful to their name; and deep was the distress aroused by the feeling that disaster was come upon them where they had looked for what they called a glorious triumph. The Consuls were obliged to resign into other hands the authority which they were thought to have defiled; and the Senate met in
64 A. C. 319. Liv., IX. 1. Cic., De Off., III. 30 : -“Quum .65 Livy mentions no battle ; but male pugnatum apud Caudium esthat there was one appears from set."
gloom to take counsel with their successors, who were none other than Publilius Philo and Papirius Cursor.66 Postumius rose before them, and entreated that he and all who had made the recent treaty should be delivered to the enemy, so that their act might be no longer binding upon their countrymen. It was then believed that the loss of honor was not so irreparable as it had appeared. None opposed the offer, save only two officers or magistrates, who were included amongst the number proposed by Postumius to be surrendered; but the suggestion he had made, not in casuistry or injustice, as it looks to us, but in thorough self-devotion, was carried into effect, and the troop of officers, naked and bound, was despatched to the Samnite quarters. Caius Pontius scorned the device, as he styled it, scarce fit to be employed by children, but ordered the prisoners, whose sacrifice he was too noble-minded not to respect, to be set at liberty.69
The defeat at Caudium was not the only disaster in a warfare so ceaseless and so harassing as that in which the Romans were on every side engaged. Even Fabius Rullianus, who had been elected Consul since his offence against Papirius, was entirely routed at Lautulæ, where he commanded as Dictator."0 He was also, however, the hero of many great triumphs; and when the Etruscans were in arms, he, being then Consul for the third time, crossed the Ciminian hills, never before passed by a Roman army, and swept the valleys of Etruria.” Papirius Cursor won his last victories in the same tempestuous times.72 Another great name descended from a noble father to a noble son, Publius Decius Mus, Consul, Master of the Knights to Papirius, and Consul again,73 must be added to the list of heroes by whom the Commonwealth was sustained amidst the shocks to which it was exposed from numerous and earnest enemies. Three years after, the Etruscans, the Marsians, and some of their neighbouring people, even up to Umbria, broke out into hostilities,74 their example being very shortly followed by the Hernicans,15 and finally by the Æquians ; 76 who all, though not arrayed at once against the Romans, so swelled the host as to threaten the enemy they surrounded with ruin. Their armies, their attacks, and their snares proved equally vain. Some were struck down by a blow, like the Hernicans, losing alike their territory and their independence ;77 others, like the Æquians,
66 Liv., IX. 7. See the account 69 Liv., IX. 11. The conclusion in Appian., Reb. Samnit., IV.7. of the historian, as to the efficacy
67 Tribunes of the Plebeians, ac- of their surrender, is a little hesicording to Liv. IX. 8, and Cic., tating: -“ Forsitan et publica, sua De Off., III. 30. See Niebuhr, certe liberata fide.” Vol. III. p. 106.
70 A. C. 318. Liv., IX. 23. 68 “ Vix pueris dignas ambages." Liv., IX. 11.
71 The war broke out in A. C. 73 Liv., IX. 28, 40, 41. 310. Liv., IX. 29. The passage 74 A. C. 307. Liv., IX. 41. of the Ciminian hills, two years 75 A. C. 306. Liv., IX. 42. later, is described in Liv., IX. 35 76 A. C. 304. Liv., IX. 45. et seq.
77 Liv., IX. 43. It was at this 72 He was nominated by Fabius time that Livy's account of the to his last dictatorship in A. C. 308. treaty of Spurius Cassius (see Liv. IX. 38. Florus (I. 16) de Vol. I. p. 399) would have been scribes the whole Samnite war as applicable. waged “per Fabios et Papirios patres eorumque liberos."
whose forty-one towns were taken in fifty days, though overthrown, were not so utterly prostrated.73 The Etruscans and the other northern people were defeated, but not yet subdued.79 Samnium submitted to unequal terms of peace, though by no means to actual dependence, after a war of more than twenty
The preceding sketch will perhaps explain the concentration of all the interests and all the energies of the Romans in their work of warfare. The liberty which the Plebeians had struggled for near a century and a half to obtain seemed, when won, to be abused by being made the incentive to combat instead of peaceful increase. It was really fulfilling its end. Within the city there were but few events, so far as the historian has recorded them, of any note, and not a single one unconnected with the wars beyond the walls. The debts of the poor or the middle classes at such a period would be enormously increased, notwithstanding the occasional help obtained from lands $1 or spoils; and many men were doubtless ripe for some exertion or sedition in behalf of their necessities, when an accident, as it appeared, led straightway to their relief. A young Plebeian, named Caius Publilius, 52 having given himself up, in his father's place, to a fiendish ‘creditor, from whom he suffered all sorts of cruelty and wrong, escaped
78 Liv., IX. 45.
from time to time. Liv., IX. 26, 79 See Liv., X. 3, 4.
28 et seq. 80 Liv., IX. 45.
82 Liv., VIII. 28. Cf. Val. Max., 81 To which colonies were sent VI. 1. 9.
one day into the open street, appealing for public protection. The excitement aroused by the spectacle of his misery, and fanned by the universal embarrassment amongst the people, led to the abolition of imprisonment for debt, by a law which the Consuls proposed and the Centuries gladly accepted, as if, says Livy, it had been a second beginning of freedom.$3
There were other dangers resulting from the occupations which the Romans pursued and the habits which they were fast forming; some that have been previously noticed, and others of which we have not yet had an example. A few years before peace was concluded with the Samnites, Caius Mænius, a Plebeian of old name and considerable personal renown,S4 was named Dictator, with the charge of anticipating a sedition suspected of being planned in Capua. During his investigations here, Mænius is said to have received such information of plots existing amongst his own fellow-citizens, in concert, apparently, with the disaffected at Capua, that he transferred his tribunal to Rome, and called before him the Patricians charged with conspiracy or illegal
8 " Eo anno ” (A. C. 323) lueret, in compedibus aut in nervo “plebi Romanæ velut aliud initium teneretur : pecuniæ creditæ bona libertatis factum est, quod necti de- debitoris, non corpus obnoxium essierunt." This was distinctly a set. Ita,” adds the historian, “ ita Plebeian gain; the Patricians, as nexi soluti ; cautumque in posterum, long since remarked, not being lia- ne necterentur." Liv., VIII. 28. ble to imprisonment for debt. The See, also, Cic., De Rep., II. 34. law itself, which took the name of 84 Acquired in his consulship at the Consuls Pætelius and Papirius, the conclusion of the Latin war; is thus described :-“Ne quis, nisi Liv., VIII. 13. It was now A. C. qui noxam meruisset, donec pænam 312.