The alarm caused by the affairs of Istria being at length composed, a decree of the senate was passed, that the consuls should settle between themselves which of them should come to Rome, to preside at the elections.
When two plebeian tribunes, Aulus Licinius Narva and Caius Papirius Turdus, in their harangues to the people, uttered severe reflections on Manlius, then abroad; and proposed the passing of an order, that although the government of their provinces had already been continued to the consuls for a year, yet Manlius should not hold command beyond the ides of March;
in order that he might immediately, after going out of office, be brought to trial. Against this proposition, Quintus Aelius, another tribune, protested; and, after violent struggles, prevailed so far, as to prevent its being passed.
About this time, when Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and Lucius Postumius Albinus came home from Spain, an audience of the senate is granted to them, by Marcus Titinius the praetor, to speak of the services which they had rendered, and demand the honours they had merited, and also that thanksgiving should be offered [p. 1926]
to the immortal gods.
At the same time also it was known, by the letters of Titus Aebutius the praetor, which his son brought to the senate, that there was great commotion in Sardinia.
The Iliensians, having added to their forces Balearian auxiliaries, had invaded the province though at peace with them; nor could resistance be offered to them by a weak army, which had besides lost great numbers by a pestilence.
Ambassadors from the Sardinians made the same representations, entreating the senate to send relief to their cities; for as to the country, it was already entirely ruined. This embassy, and every thing which referred to Sardinia, was referred to the new magistrates.
There was an embassy from the Lycians, no less entitled to commiseration, who complained of the cruel treatment which they suffered from the Rhodians, to whose government they had been annexed by Lucius Cornelius Scipio.
“They had formerly,” they said, “been under the dominion of Antiochus, and their bondage under that king, compared to their present condition, appeared an honourable state of liberty; that they were not only oppressed by acts of government, but individually underwent real slavery.
That they themselves, their wives, and children, were abused alike by them; that cruelties were practised on their persons, and their character blotted and dishonoured, a circumstance which would excite the indignation of every one. They were openly treated with contemptuous insults, merely for the purpose of exercising an usurped prerogative, that they might not doubt that there was no difference between them and purchased slaves.”
The senate was highly displeased at such proceedings, and gave the Lycians a letter to the Rhodians, acquainting them, that “it was the will of the senate, that neither the Lycians should be subjected to the Rhodians as slaves, nor should any other men who were born free become the slaves of any one;
but that the Lycians should be under the government, and, at the same time, the protection of the Rhodians, in like manner as the allied states were subjected to the Roman people.”