Next Publius Valerius (for the second time)1
and Titus Lucretius were made consuls.2
By this time the Tarquinii had sought refuge with Lars [p. 247]
Porsinna, king of Clusium. There they mingled advice3
and entreaty, now imploring him not to permit them, Etruscans by birth and of the same blood and the same name as himself, to suffer the
privations of exile, and again even warning him not to allow the growing custom of expelling kings to go unpunished. Liberty was sweet enough in itself.
Unless the energy with which nations sought to obtain it were matched by the efforts which kings put forth to defend their power, the highest would be reduced to the level of the lowest; there would be nothing lofty, nothing that stood out above the rest of the state; there was the end of monarchy, the noblest institution known to gods or men.
Porsinna, believing that it was not only a safe thing for the Etruscans that there should be a king at Rome, but an honour to have that king of Etruscan stock, invaded Roman territory with a hostile army.
Never before had such fear seized the senate, so powerful was Clusium in those days, and so great Porsinna's fame. And they feared not only the enemy but their own citizens, lest the plebs should be terror-stricken and, admitting the princes into the City, should even submit to enslavement, for the sake of peace.
Hence the senate at this time granted many favours to the plebs. The question of subsistence received special attention, and some were sent to the Volsci and others to Cumae to buy up corn. Again, the monopoly of salt, the price of which was very high, was taken out of the hands of individuals and wholly assumed by the government. Imposts and taxes were removed from the plebs that they might be borne by the well-to-do, who were equal to the burden: the poor paid dues enough if they reared children.
Thanks to this [p. 249]
liberality on the part of the Fathers, the distress4
which attended the subsequent blockade and famine was powerless to destroy the harmony of the state, which was such that the name of king was not more abhorrent to the highest than to the lowest;
nor was there ever a man in after years whose demagogic arts made him so popular as its wise governing at that time made the whole senate.