The consuls, when they perceived that Scaptius was listened to not only in silence, but even with approbation, appealing to gods and men, that an enormous and disgraceful act was being committed, send for the principal senators:
with these they went around to the tribunes; entreated, that, as judges, they would not be guilty of a most heinous crime, with a still worse precedent, by converting the dispute to their own interest, more especially when, even though it may be lawful for a judge to protect his own emolument, so much would by no means be acquired by keeping the land, as would be lost by alienating the affections of their allies by injustice; for that the losses of character and of reputation were greater than could be estimated.
Were the ambassadors to carry home this answer; was this to go out to the world; were their allies to hear this; were their enemies to hear it —with what sorrow the one —with what joy the other party?
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they suppose, that the neighbouring states would impute this proceeding to Scaptius, an old babbler at assemblies? that Scaptius would be rendered distinguished by this statue: that the Roman people would assume the character of a usurper and intercepter of the claims of others.
For what judge in a private cause ever acted in this way, so as to adjudge to himself the property in dispute? That even Scaptius himself would not act so, though he has now outlived all sense of shame."
Thus the consuls, thus the senators exclaimed; but covetousness, and Scaptius, the adviser of that covetousness, had more influence. The tribes, when convened, decided that the district was the public property of the Roman people.
Nor is it denied that it might have been so, if they had gone to other judges; now the disgrace of the decision is certainly not at all diminished by the fairness of the title: nor did it appear more disgraceful or more hideous to the people of Aricia and of Ardea, than it did to the Roman senate. The remainder of the year continued free from either city or foreign commotions.