The multitude was excited partly by the atrocious nature of the deed, partly by the hope of recovering their liberty through a favourable opportunity.
Appius now orders Icilius to be summoned before him, now on refusing to come to be seized; at length, when an opportunity of approaching him was not afforded to the beadles, he himself proceeding through the crowd with a body of young patricians, orders him to be taken into confinement.
Now not only the multitude, but Lucius Valerius and Marcus Horatius, the leaders of the multitude, stood around Icilius: who, having repulsed the lictor, stated, that “if he meant to proceed by law, they would protect Icilius from one who was but a private citizen; if he desired to employ force, that they would be no bad match for him even then.”
Hence arises a furious scuffle. The decemvir's lictor attacks Valerius and Horatius: the fasces are broken by the people. Appius ascends the tribunal; Horatius and Valerius follow him.
To them the assembly pays attention, they drown with clamour the voice of the decemvir. Now Valerius authoritatively ordered the lictors to depart from one who was but a private citizen: when Appius, whose spirits were now broken, being alarmed for his life, betook himself into a house in the vicinity of the forum, [p. 219]
unknown to his enemies, with his head covered up.
Spurius Oppius, in order to assist his colleague, rushes into the forum from the opposite side; he sees their authority overpowered by force. Distracted then by various counsels between which he wavered, by assenting to several advisers from every side, he eventually ordered the senate to be convened.
Because the proceedings of the decemvirs seemed to be displeasing to the greater portion of the patricians, this step quieted the people with the hope that the government would be abolished through the senate.
The senate gave their opinion that neither the commons should be exasperated, and much more that care should be taken that the arrival of Virginius should not occasion any commotion in the army.