On the four hundredth year after the building of the city of Rome, and the thirty-fifth after its recovery from the Gauls, the consulship being taken away from the commons after eleven years, consuls, both patricians, entered into office after the interregnum, Caius Sulpicius Peticus a third time, and Marcus Valerius Publicola.
During this year Empulum was taken from the Tiburtians with a struggle not worth mentioning; whether the war was waged there under the auspices of the two consuls, as some have stated; or whether the lands of the Tarquinians were laid waste by the consul Sulpicius about the same time that Valerius led the troops against the Tiburtians.
The consuls had a more arduous contest at home with the commons and tribunes. As two patricians had received the consulship, they considered that not only their resolution, but their honour also, was involved in their consigning it to two patricians.
For if the consulship were made a plebeian magistracy, they must either yield it up entirely, or possess it entire, which possession they had received from their fathers unimpaired.
The commons on the other hand loudly remonstrate; “Why did they live; why were they reckoned in the number of citizens; if they collectively cannot maintain that which was acquired by the firmness of two men, Lucius Sextius and Caius Licinius?
That either kings, or decemvirs, or, if there be any denomination of power more offensive, would be submitted to rather than see both the consuls patricians, or rather than not obey and rule in turn;
but the one half, located in perpetual power, thinks the commons born for no other purpose than to be subservient.” The tribunes are not [p. 469]
remiss in encouraging the disturbances; but amid the excited state of all scarcely any are distinguished as leaders.
When they had several times gone down to the Campus Martius to no purpose, and when many days of meeting had been spent in seditious movements;
at length the resentment of the commons, overcome by the perseverance of the consuls, broke out to such a degree, that the commons followed in sorrow the tribunes, exclaiming, that there was an end of liberty; that not only the Campus should be relinquished, but the city also as being held captive and oppressed by the tyranny of the patricians.
The consuls, deserted by a part of the people, finish the election nevertheless with the small number [who attended]. Both the consuls elected were patricians, Marcus Fabius Ambustus a third time, Titus Quinctius. In some annals I find Marcus Popilius mentioned as consul instead of Titus Quinctius.