With the approbation of all, they appoint a day of trial for Manlius.
When this took place, the commons were at first excited, especially when they saw the accused in a mourning habit, and with him not only none of the patricians, but not even any of his kinsmen or relatives, nay, not even his brothers Aulus and Titus Manlius; a circumstance which had never occurred before, that at so critical a juncture a man's nearest friends did not put on mourning.
When Appius Claudius was thrown into prison [they remarked], that Caius Claudius, who was at enmity with him and the entire Claudian family, appeared in mourning; that this favourite of the people was about to be destroyed by a con- [p. 416]
spiracy, because he was the first who had come over from the patricians to the commons.
When the day arrived, I find in no author, what acts were alleged by the prosecutors against the accused bearing properly on the charge of aspiring to kingly power, except his assembling the multitude, and his seditious expressions and his largesses, and pretended discovery;
nor have I any doubt that they were by no means unimportant, as the people's delay in condemning him was occasioned not by the merits of the cause, but by the place of trial. This seems deserving of notice, that men may know what great and glorious achievements his depraved ambition of regal power rendered not only bereft of all merit, but absolutely hateful.
He is said to have brought forward near four hundred persons to whom he had lent money without interest, whose goods he had prevented from being sold, whom he had prevented from being carried off to prison after being adjudged to their creditors.
Besides this, that he not only enumerated also his military rewards, but also produced them to view; spoils of enemies slain up to thirty; presents from generals to the number of forty; in which the most remarkable were two mural crowns and eight civic.
In addition to this, that he brought forward citizens saved from the enemy, amongst whom was mentioned Caius Servilius, when master of the horse, now absent. Then after he had recounted his exploits in war, in pompous language suitable to the dignity of the subject, equalling his actions by his eloquence, he bared his breast marked with scars received in battle:
and now and then, directing his eyes to the Capitol, he called down Jupiter and the other gods to aid him in his present lot; and he prayed, that the same sentiments with which they had inspired him when protecting the fortress of the Capitol, for the preservation of the Roman people, they would now inspire the Roman people with in his critical situation: and he entreated them singly and collectively, that they would form their judgment of him with their eyes fixed on the Capitol and citadel and their faces turned to the immortal gods.
As the people were summoned by centuries in the field of Mars, and as the accused, extending his hands towards the Capitol, directed his prayers from men to the gods; it became evident to the tribunes, that unless they removed the eyes of men also from the memory of so great an exploit, the best founded [p. 417]
charge would find no place in minds prejudiced by services.
Thus the day of trial being adjourned, a meeting of the people was summoned in the Pœteline grove outside the Nomentan gate, from whence there was no view of the Capitol; there the charge was made good, and their minds being now unmoved [by adventitious circumstances], a fatal sentence, and one which excited horror even in his judges, was passed on him.
There are some who state that he was condemned by duumvirs appointed to inquire concerning cases of treason. The tribunes cast him down from the Tarpeian rock: and the same place in the case of one man became a monument of distinguished glory and of extreme punishment.
Marks of infamy were offered to him when dead: one, a public one; that, when his house had been that where the temple of Moneta and the mint-office now stand, it was proposed to the people, that no patrician should dwell in the citadel and Capitol: the other appertaining to his family;
it being commanded by a decree that no one of the Manlian family should ever after bear the name of Marcus Manlius. Such was the fate of a man, who, had he not been born in a free state, would have been celebrated with posterity.
In a short time, when there was no longer any danger from him, the people, recollecting only his virtues, were seized with regret for him. A pestilence too which soon followed, no causes of so great a calamity presenting themselves, seemed to a great many to have arisen from the punishment inflicted on Manlius:
“The Capitol” [they said] “had been polluted with the blood of its preserver; nor was it agreeable to the gods that the punishment of him by whom their temples had been rescued from the hands of the enemy, had been brought in a manner before their eyes.”