Crassus accomplished his task within six months, whence arose a contention
for honors between himself and Pompey. Crassus did not dismiss his army, for
Pompey did not dismiss his. Both were candidates for the consulship. Crassus
had been prætor as the law of Sulla required. Pompey had been
neither prætor nor quæstor, and was only thirty-four
years old. He promised the tribunes of the people that much of their former
power should be restored.
When they were chosen consuls they did not even
then dismiss their armies, which were stationed near
the city. Each one offered an excuse. Pompey said that he was waiting the
return of Metellus for his Spanish triumph. Crassus said that Pompey ought
to dismiss his army first. The people, seeing fresh seditions brewing and
fearing two armies encamped round about, besought the consuls, while they
were occupying the curule chairs in the forum, to be reconciled to each
other. At first both of them repelled these solicitations. When certain
persons, who seemed to be divinely inspired, predicted many direful
consequences if the consuls did not come to an agreement, the people again
implored them with lamentation and the greatest dejection, reminding them of
the evils produced by the contentions of Marius and Sulla. Crassus yielded
first. He came down from his chair, advanced to Pompey, and offered him his
hand in the way of reconciliation. Pompey rose and hastened to meet him.
They shook hands amid general acclamations and the people did not leave the
assembly until the consuls had given orders in writing to disband the
armies. Thus was the well-grounded fear of another great dissension happily
dispelled. This was about the sixtieth year in the course of the civil
convulsions, reckoning from the killing of Tiberius Gracchus.
Visconti's Rom. Icon.