This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
As both the consuls had Apulia for their province, and as there was less danger from Hannibal and his Carthaginians, they received instructions to ballot for Apulia and Macedonia. Macedonia fell to Sulpicius, and he superseded Laevinus. Fulvius was recalled to conduct the consular elections in Rome.  The Veturian century of juniors was the first to vote, and they declared for T. Manlius Torquatus and T. Otacilius, the latter being at the time absent from Rome.  The voters began to press round Manlius to congratulate him, regarding his election as a certainty, but he at once proceeded, surrounded by a large crowd, to the consul's tribunal and begged to be allowed to make a brief speech and also asked that the century which had voted might be recalled.  When all were on the tiptoe of expectation to learn what he wanted, he began by excusing himself [5??] on the score of his eyesight. "A man must have little sense [6??] of shame," he continued "whether he be pilot of a ship or commander of an army, who asks that the lives and fortunes of others should be committed to him when, in all he does, he has to depend upon other people's eyes.  If, therefore, you approve, order the Veturian century of juniors to cast their vote again, and to remember, whilst they are choosing their consuls, the war in Italy and the critical position of the republic.  Your ears can hardly yet have recovered from the uproar and confusion caused by the enemy a few months ago, when he brought the flames of war almost up to the very walls of Rome." The century replied with a general shout that they had not changed their minds, they should vote as before.  Then Torquatus said, "I shall not be able to tolerate your manners and conduct, nor will you submit to my authority. Go back and vote again, and bear in mind that the Carthaginians are carrying war in Italy, and that their leader is Hannibal."  Then the century, swayed by the speaker's personal authority and by the murmurs of admiration which they heard all around them, begged the consul to call up the Veturian century of seniors, as they wished to consult their elders and be guided by their advice in the choice of consuls.  They were accordingly called up and an interval was allowed for the two bodies to consult privately in the ovile.  The seniors maintained that the choice really lay between three men, two of them already full of honours-Q. Fabius and M. Marcellus-and, if they particularly wished a new man to be appointed consul to act against the Carthaginians, M. Valerius Laevinus, who had conducted operations against Philip both by sea and land with conspicuous success. So they discussed the claims of these three, and after the seniors had withdrawn the juniors proceeded to vote.  They gave their vote in favour of M. Marcellus Claudius, resplendent with the glory of his conquest of Sicily, and, as the second consul, M. Valerius. Neither of them had put in a personal appearance. The other centuries all followed the leading century. People nowadays may laugh at the admirers of antiquity.  I for my part do not believe it possible, even if there ever existed a commonwealth of wise men such as philosophers dream of but have never really known, that there could be an aristocracy more grave or more temperate in their desire for power or a people with purer manners and a higher moral tone.  That a century of juniors should have been anxious to consult their seniors as to whom they were to place in supreme authority is a thing hardly credible in these days, when we see in what contempt children hold the authority of their parents.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.