the agitation of the tribunes of the plebs had so far been without result, the plebeians exerted themselves to secure the continuance in office of the proposers of the land measure, whilst the patricians strove for the re-election of those who had vetoed it.
The plebeians, however, carried the election, and the senate in revenge for this mortification passed a resolution for the appointment of consuls, the magistracy which the plebs detested.
After fifteen years, consuls were once more elected in the persons of L. Lucretius Flavus and Servius Sulpicius Camerinus.
At the beginning of the year, as none of their college was disposed to interpose his veto, the tribunes were combined in a determined effort to carry their measure, while the consuls, for the same reason, offered a no less strenuous resistance.
Whilst all the citizens were preoccupied with this struggle, the Aequi successfully attacked the Roman colony at Vitellia, which was situated in their territory.
Most of the colonists were uninjured, for the fact of its treacherous capture taking place in the night gave them the chance of escaping in the opposite direction from the enemy and reaching Rome.
That field of operations fell to L. Lucretius. He advanced against the enemy and defeated them in a regular engagement, and then came back victorious to Rome, where a still more serious contest awaited him.
A day had been fixed for the prosecution of A. Verginius and Q. Pomponius, who had been tribunes of the plebs two years previously.
The senate unanimously agreed that their honour was concerned in defending them, for no one brought any charge against them touching their private life or their public action; the only ground of indictment was that it was to please the senate that they had exercised their veto.
The influence of the senate, however, was overborne by the angry temper of the plebeians, and a most vicious precedent was set by the condemnation of those innocent men to a fine of 10,000 ‘ases
The senate were extremely distressed.
Camillus openly accused the plebeians of treason in turning against their own magistrates because they did not see that through this iniquitous judgment they had taken from their tribunes the power of veto, and in depriving them of that had overthrown their power.
They were deceived if they expected the senate to put up with the absence of any restraint upon the licence of that magistracy. If the violence of tribunes could not be met by the veto of tribunes, the senate would find another weapon.
He poured blame on the consuls also for having silently allowed the honour of the State to be compromised in the case of tribunes who had followed the instructions of the senate. By openly repeating these charges he embittered the feeling of the populace more every day.