Before the consuls returned to Rome, the proconsul Marcus Fulvius returned from Aetolia;
and when the senate, in the temple of Apollo, had heard him describe his exploits in Aetolia and Cephallania, he asked the Fathers, if they deemed it proper, by [p. 227]
reason of his successful and fortunate conduct of the1
business of the state, both to order that honour should be paid to the immortal gods and to decree a triumph to him.
Marcus Aburius, tribune of the people, announced that, if any decree on that subject were passed prior to the arrival of Marcus Aemilius, he would veto it: Aemilius, he said, wished to speak against it, and on his departure to his province had given instructions to him, the tribune, that this whole discussion should be reserved for his return.
Fulvius, he said, was suffering the loss of time only: even with the consul present the senate would decree what he wished.
Then Fulvius replied: if either the quarrel between him and Marcus Aemilius was unknown to men, or if it was unknown with what uncontrollable and almost tyrannical passion Aemilius carried on the feud, even then it would have been unendurable that the absent consul should both stand in the way of the honour due to
the immortal gods and delay an earned and merited triumph, and that a general after a brilliant campaign and a victorious army with its booty and prisoners should stand
before the gates until it suited the fancy of a consul (who stayed away for just that reason) to return to Rome.
But as a matter of fact, he went on, since his quarrel with the consul was very well known, what justice could be expected from a man who had deposited in the treasury a decree of the senate passed stealthily and in a poorly attended meeting, to the effect that Ambracia did not appear to have been taken by force, although it had been besieged with
a mound and sheds, where other works were built anew when the first were burned, where the battle had raged [p. 229]
around the walls for fifteen days, above and below2
the ground, where from daylight, after the soldiers had already scaled the walls, until nightfall the battle had been maintained with uncertain issue, and where more than three thousand of the enemy had perished?
Then, too, as to the plundering of the temples of the immortal gods in the captured city, what kind of insult was it that he had turned the booty over to the pontiffs?3
Unless it had been lawful to adorn the City with the trophies of Syracuse and other
captured towns, but that in the case of captured Ambracia alone the law of war did not hold good!
He begged the conscript Fathers and he requested of the tribune that they should not permit him to be made a laughing-stock by this most insolent personal enemy.