Not equally pleasing to the patricians on the following year was a law passed in the consulship of Caius Marcius and Cneius Manlius, by Marcus Duilius and Lucius Maenius, tribunes of the commons, regarding the interest of money at twelve per cent., and the people received and passed it with much more eagerness.
In addition to the new wars determined on the preceding year, a new enemy arose in the Faliscians, in consequence of a double charge; both that their youth had taken up arms in conjunction with the Tarquinians, and because they had refused to restore to the demand of the Roman heralds those who had fled to Falerii, after the unsuccessful battle.
That province fell to the lot of Cneius Manlius, Marcius led the army into the Privernatian territory, which, from the long continuance of peace, was in a flourishing [p. 466]
condition; and he enriched the soldiers with abundance of spoil. To the great quantity of effects he added an act of munificence; for, by setting aside nothing for public use, he favoured the soldier in his endeavours to accumulate private property.
When the Privernatians had taken their post in a well-fortified camp under their own walls, having summoned the soldiers to an assembly, he says to them, “I now give to you the camp and city of the enemy for plunder, if you promise me that you will exert yourselves bravely in the field, and that you are not better prepared for plunder than for fighting.”
With loud shouts they call for the signal, and elated and buoyed up with certain confidence, they proceed to the battle. Then, in front of the line, Sextus Tullius, whom we have already mentioned, exclaims, “Behold, general,” says he, “how your army are performing their promises to you;” and laying aside his javelin, he attacks the enemy sword in hand.
The whole van follow Tullius, and at the first onset put the enemy to flight; then pursuing them, when routed, to the town, when they were just applying the scaling ladders to the walls, they received the city on a surrender. A triumph was had over the Privernatians.
Nothing worth mentioning was achieved by the other consul, except that he, by an unusual precedent, holding an assembly of the tribes in the camp at Sutrium, he passed a law regarding the twentieth part of the value of those set free by manumission. As by this law no small revenue was added to the treasury, now low, the senate gave it their sanction.
But the tribunes of the commons, influenced not so much by the law as by the precedent, passed a law, making it a capital offence for any one in future to summon an assembly of the people at a distance from the city; for if that were allowed, there was nothing, no matter how destructive to the people, that might not be done by soldiers, who had sworn allegiance to their consul.
The same year Caius Licinius Stolo was condemned in a fine of ten thousand asses,
on his own law, by Marcus Popillius Laenas, because he possessed in conjunction with his son a thousand acres of land, and because he had attempted to evade the law by emancipating his son.