Without opposition on the part of the patricians, the prerogative tribe elect Publius Licinius Calvus military tribune without his suing for it, a man of tried moderation in his former tribunate, but now of extreme old age;
and it was observed that all were re-elected in regular succession out of the college of the same year, Lucius Titinius, Publius Maenius, Publius Maelius, Cneius Genucius, Lucius Atilius: before these were proclaimed, the tribes being summoned in the ordi- [p. 345]
nary course, Publius Licinius Calvus, by permission of the interrex, spoke as follows:
“Romans, I perceive that from the recollection of our administration you are seeking an omen of concord, a thing most important at the present time for the ensuing year.
If you re-elect the same colleagues, improved also by experience, in me you no longer behold the same person, but the shadow and name of Publius Licinius now left. The powers of my body are decayed, my senses of sight and hearing are grown dull, my memory falters, the vigour of my mind is blunted.
Behold here a youth,” says he, holding his son, “the representation and image of him whom ye formerly made a military tribune, the first from among the commons. This youth, formed under my own discipline, I present and dedicate to the commonwealth as a substitute for myself. And I beseech you, Romans, that the honour readily offered by yourselves to me, you would grant to his suit, and to my prayers added in his behalf.”
The favour was granted to the request of the father, and his son, Publius Licinius, was declared military tribune with consular power along with those whom I have mentioned above.
Titinius and Genucius, military tribunes, proceeded against the Faliscians and Capenatians, and whilst they conduct the war with more courage than conduct, they fall into an ambush. Genucius, atoning for his temerity by an honourable death, fell among the foremost in front of the standards.
Titinius, having collected his men from the great confusion [into which they were thrown] on a rising ground, restored their order of battle; nor did he, however, venture to engage the enemy on even ground.
More of disgrace than of loss was sustained; which was well nigh proving a great calamity; so much alarm was excited not only at Rome, whither an exaggerated account of it had reached, but in the camp also at Veii.
There the soldiers were with difficulty restrained from flight, as a report had spread through the camp that, the generals and army having been cut to pieces, the victorious Capenatians and Faliscians and all the youth of Etruria were not far off.
At Rome they gave credit to accounts still more alarming than these, that the camp at Veii was now attacked, that a part of the enemy was now advancing to the city prepared for an attack: they crowded to the walls, and supplications of the matrons, which the public panic had called forth from their houses, were offered up in the [p. 346]
and the gods were petitioned by prayers, that they would repel destruction from the houses and temples of the city and from the walls of Rome, and that they would avert that terror to Veii, if the sacred rites had been duly renewed, if the prodigies had been expiated.