When the ambassadors had thus spoken, and Quintus Fabius had asked them whether they had carried those complaints to Publius Scipio, they answered, “that deputies were sent to him, but he was occupied with the preparations for the war, and had either already crossed over into Africa, or was about to do so within a few days.
That they had experienced how highly the lieutenant-general was in favour with the general, when, after hearing the cause between him and the tribunes, he threw the tribunes into chains, while he left the lieutenant-general, who was equally or more guilty, in possession of the same power as before.”
The ambassadors, having been directed to withdraw from the senate-house, not only Pleminius, but even Scipio, was severely inveighed against by the principal men; but, above all, by Quintus Fabius, who endeavoured to show, “that he was born for the corruption of military discipline.
It was thus,” he said, “that in Spain he almost lost more men in consequence of mutiny than the war. That, after the manner of foreigners and kings, he indulged the licentiousness of the soldiers, and then punished them with cruelty.”
He then followed up his speech by a resolution equally harsh: that “it was his opinion, that Pleminius should be conveyed to Rome in chains, and in chains plead his cause; and, if the complaints of the Locrians were found- [p. 1258]
ed in truth, that he should be put to death in prison, and his effects confiscated.
That Publius Scipio should be recalled, for having quitted his province without the permission of the senate; and that the plebeian tribunes should be applied to, to propose to the people the abrogation of his command. That the senate should reply to the Locrians, when brought before them, that the injuries which they complained of having received were neither approved of by the senate nor the people of Rome.
That they should be acknowledged as worthy men, allies, and friends; that their children, their wives, and whatsoever else had been taken from them, should be restored; that the sum of money which had been taken from the treasures of Proserpine should be collected, and twice the amount placed in the treasury.
That an expiatory sacred rite should be celebrated, first referring it to the college of pontiffs, to determine what atonements should be made, to what gods, and with what victims, in consequence of the sacred treasures' having been removed and violated.
That the soldiers at Locri should be all transported into Sicily, and four cohorts of the allies of the Latin confederacy taken to Locri for a garrison.” The votes could not be entirely collected that day in consequence of the warm feeling excited for and against Scipio.
Besides the atrocious conduct of Pleminius, and the calamities of the Locrians, much was said about the dress of the general himself, as being not only not Roman, but even unsoldierlike.
It was said, that “he walked about in the gymnasium in a cloak and slippers, and that he gave his time to light books and the palaestra.
That his whole staff were enjoying the delights which Syracuse afforded, with the same indolence and effeminacy.
That Carthage and Hannibal had dropped out of his memory; that the whole army, corrupted by indulgence, like that at Sucro in Spain, or that now at Locri, was more to be feared by its allies than by its enemies.”