Laws were then proposed which not only cleared the consul from the suspicion of seeking kingly power, but took such an opposite turn that they even made him popular and caused him to be styled Publicola, the People's Friend.
Above all, the law about appealing from the magistrates to the people, and the one that pronounced a curse on the life and property of a man who should plot to make himself king, were welcome to the commons.
When he had carried through these measures alone, that he might enjoy without a rival all the favour arising out of them, he finally held an election to choose a colleague for the unexpired term.
The choice fell upon Spurius Lucretius, who by reason of his great age was no longer strong enough for the duties of the consulship, and died within a few days. They elected in Lucretius's place Marcus Horatius [p. 245]
In some ancient authorities I do not find1
Lucretius given as consul, but Brutus is followed immediately by Horatius; I suppose that because no exploit lent distinction to Lucretius's consulship men forgot it.
The temple of Jupiter on the Capitol had not yet been dedicated.
Valerius and Horatius the consuls drew lots to determine which should do it. Horatius received the lot, and Publicola set out to conduct the war against the Veientes. With more bitterness than was reasonable, the friends of Valerius resented that the dedication of so famous a temple should be given to Horatius.
They tried in all sorts of ways to hinder it, but their schemes all came to naught. Finally, when the consul's hand was on the door-post and he was in the midst of his prayers to the gods, they broke in upon the ceremony with the evil tidings that his son was dead, averring that whilst the shadow of death was over his house he could not dedicate a temple.
Whether he did not believe the news to be true, or possessed great fortitude, we are not informed with certainty, nor is it easy to decide. Without permitting himself to be diverted from his purpose by the message, further than to order that the body should be buried, he kept his hand upon the doorpost, finished his prayer, and dedicated the temple.
Such were the achievements, at home and in the field, of the first year after the expulsion of the kings.