Pacuvius, having thus rendered the senators more subservient to himself than to the commons by the gift of their lives, ruled without the aid of arms, all persons now acquiescing.
Henceforward the senators, forgetful of their rank and independence, flattered the commons; saluted them courteously; invited them graciously;
entertained them with sumptuous feasts; undertook those causes, always espoused that party, decided as judges in favour of that side, which was most popular, and best adapted to conciliate the favour of the commons. Now, indeed, every thing was transacted in the senate as if it had been an assembly of the people.
The Capuans, ever prone to luxurious indulgence not only from natural turpitude, but from the profusion of the means of voluptuous enjoyment which flowed in upon them, and the [p. 839]
temptations of all the luxuries of land and sea;
at that time especially proceeded to such a pitch of extravagance in consequence of the obsequiousness of the nobles and the unrestrained liberty of the commons, that their lust and prodigality had no bounds.
To a disregard for the laws, the magistrates, and the senate, now, after the disaster of Cannae, was added a contempt for the Roman government also, for which there had been some degree of respect.
The only obstacles to immediate revolt were the intermarriages which, from a remote period, had connected many of their distinguished and influential families with the Romans;
and, which formed the strongest bond of union, that while several of their countrymen were serving in the Roman armies, particularly three hundred horsemen, the flower of the Campanian nobility, had been selected and sent by the Romans to garrison the cities of Sicily.