They press forward therefore to the fight, which had been suspended on their part, and endeavour to regain the ground which they had lost, and in a moment not only is the battle restored, but one of the wings of the Sabines gives way.
The cavalry, covered between the ranks of the foot, return to their horses; they then gallop across to the other division to announce their success to their party; at the same time also they make a charge on the enemy, now disheartened by the discomfiture of their stronger wing. The valour of none shone more conspicuous in that battle.
The consul provided for all emergencies; he applauded the brave, rebuked wherever the battle seemed to slacken. When reproved, they displayed immediately the energy of brave men; and a sense of shame stimulated them as much as praises excited the others.
The shout being raised anew, and making a united effort, they drive the enemy back; nor could the Roman power be any longer resisted. The Sabines, driven in every direction through the country, leave behind them their camp as plunder for the enemy. There the Roman recovers the effects not of the allies, as at Algidum, but his own property, which had been lost by the devastations of their lands.
For this double victory, obtained in two battles, in two different places, the senate through jealousy decreed merely supplications in the name of the consuls for one day only. The people went, however, on the second day also in great numbers of their own accord to offer thanksgiving; and this unauthorized and popular supplication was even more zealously attended.
The consuls by concert came to the city within the same two days, and called out the senate to the Campus Martius. Where, when they were relating the services performed by themselves, the chiefs of the patricians complained that the senate was convened among the soldiers designedly for the purpose of intimidation.
The consuls therefore, lest there might be any foundation for [p. 237]
such a charge, called away the senate to the Flaminian meadows, where the temple of Apollo now is (even then they called
it Apollinaris). Where, when a triumph was refused by a large majority of the patricians, Lucius Icilius, tribune of the commons, proposed to the people regarding the triumph of the consuls, many persons coming forward to argue against the measure, but in particular Caius Claudius, exclaiming, “That it was over the senate, not over the enemy, the consuls wished to triumph;
and that it was intended as a return for a private service to a tribune, and not as an honour due to valour.
That never before was the matter of a triumph managed through the people; but that the consideration concerning the honour and the disposal of it, always lay with the senate; that not even the kings had infringed on the majesty of this highest order. That the tribunes should not thus occupy every department with their own authority, so as to allow the existence of no public council; that the state would be free, and the laws equalized by these means only, if each rank would retain its own rights, its own dignity.”
Though much had been said by the other senior patricians also to the same purpose, all the tribes approved that proposition. Then for the first time a triumph was celebrated by order of the people, without the authority of the senate.