When it was announced that their arms were being laid aside, and that the men were quitting their posts, Publius Valerius, his colleague still detaining the senate, hastens from the senate-house; he comes thence into the meeting to the tribunes: “What is all this,” says he, “tribunes?
Are you deter- mined to overthrow the commonwealth under the guidance and auspices of Appius Herdonius? Has he been so successful in corrupting you, who, by his authority, has not influenced your slaves? When the enemies are over our heads, is it your pleasure that arms should be given up, and laws be proposed?” [p. 179]
Then directing his discourse to the populace: “If, Romans, no concern for your city, for yourselves, moves you, at least revere the gods of your country, now made captive by the enemy.
Jupiter, the best and greatest, Queen Juno, and Minerva, the other gods and goddesses, are besieged; the camp of slaves now holds the tutelary gods of the state. Does this seem to you the form of a state in its senses?
Such a crowd of enemies is not only within the walls, but in the citadel, commanding the forum and senate-house: in the mean while meetings are being held in the forum; the senate is in the senate-house, just as when perfect tranquillity prevails; the senator gives his opinion, the other Romans give their votes. Would it not behove all the patricians and commons, consuls, tribunes, citizens, and all classes of persons, to bring aid with arms in their hands, to run into the Capitol, to liberate and restore to peace that most august residence of Jupiter, the best and greatest?
O Father Romulus! do thou infuse into thy progeny that determination of thine, by which you once recovered from these same Sabines the citadel, when obtained by gold.
Order them to pursue this same path, which thou, as leader, and thy army, pursued. Lo! I, as consul, shall be the first to follow thee and thy footsteps, as far as a mortal can follow a god.” The close of his speech was: “That he would take up arms, that he invited every citizen of Rome to arms; if any one should oppose, that he, 1
the consular authority, the tribunitian power, and the devoting- laws, would consider him as an enemy, whoever he may, wheresoever he may, in the Capitol, or in the forum. That the tribunes might order arms to be taken up against Publius Valerius the consul, since they forbid it against Appius Herdonius; that he
would venture to act in that manner in the case of the tribunes, in which the founder of his family had ventured to act in the case of kings.” It now became apparent that extreme violence was about to take place, and that a disturbance among the Romans would be exhibited as a sight to the enemy; the law, however, could neither
be prepared, nor could the consul proceed to the Capitol: night quashed the contest that had commenced; the tribunes yielded [p. 180]
to the night, dreading the arms of the consuls. The fomenters
of the disturbances being removed from thence, the patricians went about among the commons, and introducing themselves into their circles of conversation, they introduced observations suited to the occasion: they advised them “to beware into what hazard they were bringing the commonwealth; that the contest was not between the patricians and commons, but that patricians and
commons together, the fortress of the city, the temples of the gods, the guardian gods of the state and of private families, were being delivered up to the enemy.” Whilst these affairs are going on in the forum for the purpose
of appeasing the disturbances, the consuls in the mean time had armed the several gates and the walls, lest the Sabines or the Veientian enemy should make any move.