Scarcely ever was the speech of a popular tribune more acceptable to the commons, than was this of a most strict consul on that occasion.
The young men also, who during such alarming emergencies had been accustomed to employ the refusal to enlist as the sharpest weapon against the patricians, began to direct their thoughts to war and arms: and the flight of the rustics, and those who had been robbed on the lands and wounded, announcing matters more revolting even than what was exhibited to view, filled the whole city with a spirit of vengeance.
When the senate assembled, these all turning to Quintius, looked on him as the only champion of Roman majesty; and the leading senators declared “his harangue to be worthy of the consular authority, worthy of so ma y consulships formerly borne by him, worthy of his who e life, which was full of honours frequently enjoyed, more frequently [p. 244]
That other consuls had either flattered the com- mons by betraying the dignity of the patricians, or by harshly maintaining the rights of their order, had rendered the multitude more difficult to subdue: that Titus Quintius had delivered a speech mindful of the dignity of the patricians, of the concord of the different orders, and above all, of the times.
They entreated him and his colleague to take up the interest of the commonwealth; they entreated the tribunes, that by acting in concert with the consuls they would join in repelling the war from the city and the walls, and that they would induce the commons to be obedient to the senate in so perilous a conjuncture: that, their lands being devastated, and their city in a manner besieged, their common country appealed to them as tribunes, and implored their aid.”
By universal consent the levy is decreed and held. When the consuls gave public notice "that there was no time for examining into excuses, that all the young men should attend on the following morning at the first dawn in the Campus Martius;
that when the war was over, they should afford time for inquiring into the excuses of those who had not given in their names; that the man should be held as a deserter, with whose excuse they might not be satisfied; the entire youth attended on the following day.
The cohorts chose each their centurions: two senators were placed at the head of each cohort. We have heard that all these measures were perfected with such expedition, that the standards, having been brought forth from the treasury on that very day by the quaestors and conveyed to the Campus, began to move from thence at the fourth hour; and the newly raised army halted at the tenth stone, followed by a few cohorts of veteran soldiers as volunteers.
The following day brought the enemy within view, and camp was joined to camp near Corbio.
On the third day, when resentment urged on the Romans, a consciousness of guilt for having so often rebelled, and despair (of pardon) urged them on the other side, there was no delay made in coming to an engagement.