Titus Otacilius, vociferating in the most furious manner, that his object was to continue in the consulship, the consul ordered the lictors to go to him;
and as he had not entered [p. 907]
the city, but had proceeded directly without halting from his march to the Campus Martius, admonished him that the axes were in the fasces which were carried before him.
The prerogative century proceeded to vote a second time, when Quintus Fabius Maximus for the fourth time, and Marcus Marcellus for the third time, were created consuls. The other centuries voted for the same persons without any variation.
One praetor, likewise, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, was reelected; the other new ones who were chosen, were Titus Otacilius Crassus a second time, Quintus Fabius, son of the consul, who was at that time curule aedile, and Publius Cornelius Lentulus.
The election of the praetors completed, a decree of the senate was passed, that Quintus Fulvius should have the city department out of the ordinary course, and that he in preference to any other should command in the city while the consuls were absent in the war.
Great floods happened twice during this year, and the Tiber overflowed the fields, with great demolition of houses and destruction of men and cattle.
In the fifth year of the second Punic war Quintus Fabius Maximus for the fourth time, and Marcus Claudius Marcellus for the third time, entering upon their office, drew the attention of the state upon them in a more than ordinary degree, for there had not been two such consuls now for many years.
The old men observed, that thus Maximus Rullus and Publius Decius were declared consuls for conducting the Gallic war; that thus afterwards Papirius and Carvilius were appointed to that office against the Samnites, the Bruttians, and the Lucanian with the Tarentine people.
Marcellus, who was with the army, was created consul in his absence; to Fabius, who was present and held the election himself, the office was continued.
The critical state of affairs, the exigencies of the war, and the danger which threatened the state, prevented any one from looking narrowly into the precedent, or suspecting that the consul was actuated by an excessive love of command;
on the contrary, they applauded his magnanimity in that when he knew the state was in want of a general of the greatest ability, and that he was himself confessedly such an one, he thought less of the personal odium which might arise out of the transaction, than of the good of the state.