An attempt made at home by the dictator, to have the election of two patrician consuls, brought the government to an interregnum.
The two interreges, Caius Sulpicius and Marcus Fabius, succeeded in that which the dictator had in vain attempted, scil. in having both the consuls elected from the patricians, the people being rather more appeased in consequence of the service done them in lightening their debts.
The persons elected were, Caius Sulpicius Peticus himself, who first resigned the office of interrex, and Titus Quinctius Pennus. Some attach the name of Kaeso, others that of Caius to Quinctius.
They both set out to the war, Quinctius to the Faliscian, Sulpicius to the Tarquinian; and the enemy no where meeting them in the field, they waged war more against the lands than the men, by burning and laying waste every thing, by the
debilitating effects of which, as of a slow consumption, the pertinacity of both states was so broken, that they solicited a truce, first from the consuls, then through their permission from the senate. They obtained a truce for forty years.
Thus the concern regarding the two wars which were hanging over them being laid aside, whilst there was some repose from arms, it was determined that a census should be instituted, because the payment of the debt had changed the owners of much property.
But when the assembly was proclaimed for the appointment of censors, Caius Marcius Rutilus, who had been the first plebeian dictator, having declared himself a candidate for the censorship, disturbed the harmony of the different orders.
This step he seemed to have taken at an unseasonable time; because both the consuls then happened to be patricians, who declared that they would take no account of him.
But he both succeeded in his undertaking by his own perseverance, and the tribunes aided him by recovering a right lost in the election of the consuls; and both the worth of the man brought him to the [p. 474]
level of the highest honour, and also the commons were anxious that the censorship also should be brought within their participation through the medium of the same person who had opened a way to the dictatorship.
Nor was any dissent [from this feeling] evinced at the election, so that Marcius was elected censor along with Cneius Manlius. This year also had Marcus Fabius as dictator, not by reason of any terror of war, but in order that the Licinian law should not be observed at the consular elections.
Quintus Servilius was attached to the dictator as master of the horse. Nor yet did the dictatorship render that combination of the senators more effectual at the consular elections, than it had proved at that of the censors.