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trieve his doubted honor. 35 The old man, accordingly, joined the army. His counsels and his son's awakened energies brought about an action altogether favorable to the Roman arms; and a triumph was soon celebrated in the city, which none who witnessed it could behold unmoved. Close behind the chariot of the Consul, as he was borne up towards the Capitol, rode his lieutenants, as was the wont in any triumphal march; but among them was the father, as was never the wont at any time, following his son with the same affectionate spirit that he had shown in his excuse before the Senate and in his service on the field.36 The nearness of extremes, however, was never more apparent than on that day of general rejoicing, when Caius Pontius, the heroic Samnite general, was led aside from the triumphal procession, in which he had walked among the captives, as it began to ascend the Capitol, and slain in prison,37 — the thank-offering of Fabius Gurges to his father and his applauding countrymen.
All these names belong to the popular party, of whose members, as we have to observe their errors, it is well to know the good that can fairly be ascribed to them. We can further judge them by contrast; the opposition of Appius Claudius or of Postumius Megellus being as decisive, negatively, concerning them as the deeds and opinions of Fabius, Decius, or Volumnius are positive testimony in their regard. Postumius Megellus, of great Patrician family, is first mentioned as a Curule Ædile,38 who distinguished himself by prosecuting many of the numerous offenders against the laws concerning public lands and usury. He afterwards appears as the object, himself, of a prosecution conducted by a certain Tribune, and as having escaped trial only by being appointed lieutenant to one of the Consuls then taking the field. 39 The turbulence of the magistrate or the citizen was the excellence of the warrior, and at three different elections Postumius was returned Consul, — once towards the close of the former,40 and twice again during the present wars.
35 Liv., Epit. XI. Dion Cass., to the expenses of the funeral. De Fragm., XXXVI., ed. Reimar. Vir. Illust., XXXII. “The old
36 « Triumphantis currum equo Fabius," says Arnold, with his insidens sequi, quem ipse parvulum usual spirit, “ was the Talbot of the triumphis suis gestaverat, in maxima fifth century of Rome; and his pervoluptate posuit.” Val. Max., V. sonal prowess, even in his old age, 7, sect. 1. The death of Fabius, was no less celebrated than his skill the father, occurred not long after as a general." Hist. Rome, Vol. this time, and every man in Rome II. p. 363. is said to have brought contributions 37 Liv., Epit. XI.
On his third election, Postumius, somewhat strangely, claimed the charge of the campaign against the Samnites, who were already virtually subdued; and as there was no particular necessity of hurrying his operations, he turned aside from his march to visit some newly conquered lands of which he had got possession. The secret of his choosing the campaign in Samnium was plain; hero as he was, Pos
38 The year of his ædileship, 39 Liv., X. 46. however, is unknown, and I but sup 40 A. C. 304. Liv., IX. 44. pose this office to have been the first 41 A. C. 294. Liv., X. 32. A.C. of those Postumius is mentioned as 291. Dion. Hal., Exc., XVI. 15. having filled. The prosecutions are recorded in Liv., X. 33.
tumius was also a rich man, to whom gains were better than any laurels. Finding that the new estate needed a great deal of labor to be made productive, he set two thousand of his soldiers upon clearing the woods and preparing for the cultivation or the use to which he liked to put his large domains. At his own time, he led his men forward to Cominium, a town in the centre of the enemy's country, which Fabius Gurges, the Consul, and with his father's aid the victor, of the preceding year, was then besieging, with an army under his orders, as Proconsul. To him Postumius sent forward, bidding him resign his command, which he, the Consul, claimed for himself; but Fabius appealed to the Senate, who straightway despatched some of their own members to prevent Postumius from doing so great an affront to themselves as well as to the Proconsul of their appointment. Postumius replied to the Senators who sought him, that they were not to govern him, but that he was to govern them ; 43 and on his arrival at Cominium, he instantly dismissed. Fabius from the siege. The town soon surrendered to Postumius; and others besides Cominium were speedily reduced to submission by the skill and gallantry he always showed in his military achievements. At his proposal, a colony was sent to one of the captured cities; but he counted in vain upon the advantageous, perhaps in his case the lucrative, office