but the lieutenants by these words rather stirred up the wrath of the dictator against themselves than lessened his rancour against the master of the horse, and he ordered them to go down from the tribunal.
he then sought by the mouth of a herald to procure silence, but without success, for the din and uproar were so great that it was impossible for the dictator himself or his attendants to be heard;
and it was left for darkness, as though descending on a battle —field, to end the struggle.
The master of the horse was commanded to appear next day; but since everyone assured him that Papirius would be more violent than ever, aroused as he was and exasperated by the opposition he had met with, he slipped out of the camp and fled to Rome.
there, with the approval of his father, who had thrice been consul, and dictator to boot, he at once assembled the senate,1
and had reached, in his speech to the senators, the very point where he was complaining of the violence and injury offered him by the dictator, when a sudden noise was heard outside the Curia, as the lictors cleared the way, and Papirius himself, in high dudgeon, appeared before them;
for he had learned of the other's departure from the camp, and taking a troop of light horse had pursued him.
The dispute was now renewed, and the dictator ordered Fabius to be seized. both the leading members and the senate as a body sought to pacify his wrath; but he would not relent, and persisted in his [p. 129]
then the father of the young man said:2
“inasmuch as neither the senate's authority nor my old age —which you are going about to bereave —nor the merits and noble lineage of a master of the horse whom you yourself appointed, are of any weight with you, nor yet entreaties, which have often moved an enemy to mercy, which can persuade the gods to put away their anger, —I invoke the tribunes of the plebs, and appeal to the people; and since you would shun the judgment of your own army and shun the judgment of the senate, I propose to you a judge that singly has more might and power —be well assured —than has your dictatorship.
we shall see whether you will submit to an appeal to which a Roman king, Tullus Hostilius, submitted!”3
leaving the senate —house, they repaired to the speaker's platform, which the dictator mounted with only a few attendants, while the master of the horse was accompanied thither by the whole body of the leading men.
then Papirius bade Fabius be removed from the Rostra to the ground below; and his father followed him, exclaiming, “you do well to bid us be removed to a place where even as private citizens we can say our say!”
at first there were not so much set speeches to be heard above the tumult as an interchange of angry words.
but presently the strong voice and the indignation of the elder Fabius prevailed over the din, as he inveighed against the pride and cruelty of Papirius. he reminded him that he too had been dictator at Rome, and that no man —not even a plebeian, a centurion, or a common soldier —had
been misused by him; but Papirius was seeking a victory and triumph over a Roman general, as if over [p. 131]
commanders of the enemy. how great was the4
difference betwixt the moderation of the ancients and this new —fangled arrogance and ruthlessness!
when Quinctius Cincinnatus had been dictator, and had rescued the consul Lucius Minucius from the toils of the enemy, his anger had gone no further than to leave Minucius in command of the army as his lieutenant, in place of being consul.5
Marcus Furius Camillus, when Lucius Furius, in contempt of his great age and his authority, had fought a battle, with the direst results, not only controlled his indignation at the moment and made no animadversions upon his colleague in writing to the senate or the people, but, on being permitted by the senate, after his return, to choose a partner in command, selected Lucius Furius in preference to all the other consular tribunes, his associates.6
as to the people, who had all power in their hands, their indignation against those who by recklessness or lack of skill had lost their armies had never burned so fiercely that they punished them with anything worse than a fine; a capital charge on account of a defeat had never until that day been lodged against a general.
but now the generals of the Roman People, who even if beaten might not be so dealt with without sin, were, despite their victories and their well —earned title to a triumph, being threatened with scourging and decapitation.
what, pray, would his son have suffered, if he had lost his army, if he had been discomfited, routed, and driven from his camp? to what higher pitch could the passionate violence of Papirius have mounted than to scourge him and put him to death?
how proper it was that because of Quintus Fabius the citizens [p. 133]
should exult in victory with thanksgivings and7
rejoicings; while he on whose account the shrines of the gods were open, and the altars smoked with sacrifices and were heaped high with incense and with offerings, should be stripped
and mangled with rods in full sight of the Roman People, as he looked up to the Capitol and the Citadel and the gods whose help in battle he had twice invoked, and not in vain!
in what spirit would this be taken by the army, which under his conduct and his auspices had gained the victory? what grief would there be in the Roman camp, what rejoicings amongst their enemies!
so he made his plea, now chiding and now complaining, now calling on gods and men to help him, now bursting into tears, as he embraced his son.