Together with the peace, provisions returned to the city [p. 143]
in greater abundance, both by reason of corn having been brought in from Campania, and, as soon as the fear felt by each of future famine left them, that corn being brought forward which had been hoarded up.
Then their minds once more became licentious from their present abundance and ease, and their former subjects of complaint, now that there were none abroad, they sought for at home; the tribunes began to excite the commons by their poison, the agrarian law: they roused them against the senators who opposed it, and not only against them as a body, but also against particular individuals.
Q. Considius and T. Genucius, the proposers of the agrarian law, appoint a day of trial for T. Menenius: the loss of the fort of Cremera, whilst the consul had his standing camp at no great distance from thence, was the charge against him.
They crushed him, though both the senators had exerted themselves in his behalf with no less earnestness than in behalf of Coriolanus, and the popularity of his father Agrippa was not yet forgotten.
The tribunes, however, went no further than a fine: though they had arraigned him for a capital offence, they imposed on him, when found guilty, a fine of two thousand asses.
This proved fatal. They say that he could not submit to the disgrace, and to the anguish of mind (occasioned by it): that, in consequence, he was taken off by disease.
Another senator, Sp. Servilius, being soon after arraigned, as soon as he went out of office, a day of trial having been appointed for him by the tribunes, L. Caedicius and T. Statius, at the very commencement of the year, in the consulship of C. Nautius and P. Valerius, did not, like Menenius, meet the attacks of the tribunes with supplications from himself and the patricians, but with firm reliance on his own integrity, and his personal influence.
The battle With the Etrurians at the Janiculum was the charge against him also: but being a man of an intrepid spirit, as he had formerly acted in the case of public peril, so now in that which was personal to himself, he dispelled the danger by boldly facing it, by confuting not only the tribunes but the commons also, by a bold speech, and upbraiding them with the condemnation and death of T. Menenius, by the good offices of whose father the commons were formerly re-established, and were now in possession of those laws and those magistrates, by' means of which they then exercised their insolence;
his colleague [p. 144]
Virginius also, who was brought forward as a witness, aided him by assigning to him a share of his own deserts; the condemnation of Menenius however was of greater service to him (so much had they changed their minds).