the Campanians then had their hearing in the senate, and their speech was more pitiful, their case more difficult.
for they could not deny that punishment had been deserved, nor were there tyrants on whom they could throw the blame.
but they believed that a sufficient penalty had been paid, since so many senators had been carried off by poison, so many executed by beheading; that few of the nobles survived, whom neither their conscience had prompted to do violence to themselves, nor an angry victor had condemned to death. those were the men who were begging, they said, for freedom for themselves and their families and for some part of their property, being Roman citizens,1
linked to them in many cases through relations by marriage, and [p. 127]
now by close blood relations in consequence of their2
long —established right of intermarriage.
then after they had been conducted out of the temple, there was for a short time hesitation whether Quintus Fulvius should be summoned from Capua —for Claudius, the consul,3
had died after the capture of the city —in order that the discussion might go on in the presence of the general who had conducted the campaign, just as it had been carried on between Marcellus and the Sicilians.
then, when they saw Flaccus' lieutenants4
in the senate, namely his brother Gaius Fulvius and Marcus Atilius, also Claudius' lieutenants, Quintus Minucius and Lucius Veturius Philo, men who had witnessed everything that was done, and they did not wish Fulvius to be recalled from Capua nor
the Campanians to be put off, Marcus Atilius Regulus, who had the greatest influence of all the men who had been at Capua, was asked his opinion.
“i testify,” he said, “that I was one of the advisers to the consuls when, after the capture of Capua, the question was raised whether there was anyone of the Campanians who had deserved well of our republic.
it was ascertained that there were two women only, Vestia Oppia, of Atella, domiciled at Capua, and Pacula Cluvia, who had formerly been a harlot; that the former had sacrificed every day for the safety and victory of the Roman people, and the latter had secretly supplied food to needy captives;
that all the rest of the Campanians had had the same feelings towards us as had the Carthaginians; and those beheaded by Quintus Fulvius were the men whose rank rather than their guilt was conspicuous among the others.
i do not see that it is possible for action to be taken [p. 129]
by the senate in regard to the Campanians, who are5
Roman citizens, without the command of the people; and I see that in the time of our ancestors also the procedure in the case of the Satricani, after their revolt, was that Marcus Antistius, tribune of the plebs, first introduced a bill, and the plebs voted that the senate should have the right to pronounce judgment upon the men of Satricum.6
accordingly I think that we must persuade the tribunes of the plebs that one or more of them should propose to the plebs a bill by which we should be given the right to decide in regard to the Campanians.”
Lucius Atilius, tribune of the plebs, by authority of the senate brought before the plebs a bill in these terms:
“all the Capuans, Atellani, Calatini, Sabatini, who under Quintus Fulvius, the proconsul, surrendered themselves to the will and authority of the Roman people, and the7
menwhom they have surrendered along with themselves, and the possessions which they have surrendered along with themselves, the land and the city, property of gods and property of men, and implements or anything else that they have surrendered —concerning those matters, Quirites, I ask you what you wish to be
done.” the plebs ordered as follows: “what the senate under oath, a majority of those present, shall decree, that is our wish and command.”