When this strife had calmed down, another straightway arose as a consequence of the death of Gaius Decimius the praetor.
Gnaeus Sicinius and Lucius Pupius, who had been aediles the preceding year, and Gaius Valerius the flamen Dialis
and Quintus Fulvius Flaccus —he, because he was curule aedile elect,1
did not wear the toga candida,
but was canvassing more energetically than the rest —were the candidates.
The race was between Fulvius and the flamen.
And when Fulvius [p. 345]
seemed at first to be on equal terms with Valerius2
and then even to be passing him, part of the tribunes of the people declared that his candidacy ought not to be accepted3
because one man could not seek or hold two offices simultaneously, especially curule offices;
part thought that he should be exempted from the operation of the laws, so that the people might have the opportunity of electing whomsoever they wished to the praetorship.4
Lucius Porcius the consul was at first of the opinion that he should not accept his name; then, that he might take this action with the authorization of the senate,
calling together the Fathers, he said that he was referring the matter to them because there was neither any law nor any precedent, acceptable in a free state, that a curule aedile elect might seek the praetorship; unless something else seemed best to them, it was his intention to hold the election in accordance with the law.
The Fathers voted that the consul Lucius Porcius should appeal to Quintus Fulvius not to stand in the way of the election of a praetor, as a successor to Gaius Decimius, being held in accordance with the law. When the consul made this appeal in accordance with the decree of the senate, Flaccus replied that he would do nothing which was unworthy of himself.
By this ambiguous answer he had created, in the minds of men who interpreted it to suit their own desires, the hope that he would yield to the authority of the Fathers.
At the election he continued his canvassing even more actively than before, charging that the consul and the senate were wresting from him the gift of the Roman people and were arousing hostility to him by their talk of duplicated offices, as if it were not evident that when he should be elected5 [p. 347]
praetor he would immediately resign the aedileship.6
When the consul saw both that the stubbornness of the candidate increased and that the favour of the people was turning more and more to him, he adjourned the assembly and summoned the senate. A full meeting declared that, since the authority of the Fathers had had no influence with Flaccus, the appeal to Flaccus should be made before the assembly.7
When the consul had called an informal meeting and presented his plea, Flaccus, not even then moved from his position, expressed his gratitude to the Roman people because with such enthusiasm, as often as the opportunity to declare their desires had been granted to them, they had wished to make him praetor: it was not his intention to disappoint these desires of his fellow-citizens.
This speech, obstinate though it was, aroused so much enthusiasm for him that he would be praetor beyond a doubt if the consul would accept his candidacy.8
Then the tribunes had a great argument, both among themselves and with the consul, until the senate was convoked by the consul and passed this decree: that since the stubbornness of Quintus Flaccus and the base desires of men prevented the holding, in accordance with the
laws, of the election to fill a vacancy among the praetors, the senate decreed that there were enough praetors; Publius Cornelius should hold both jurisdictions in the City and should preside at the games to Apollo.