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[16] Under these circumstances the Senate assembled at the temple of Fides.1 It is astonishing to me that they never thought of appointing a dictator in this emergency, although they had often been protected by the government of a single ruler in such times of peril. Although this resource had been found most useful in former times few people remembered it, either then or later. After reaching the decision that they did reach, they marched up to the Capitol, Cornelius Scipio Nasica, the pontifex maximus, leading the way and calling out with a loud voice, "Let those who would save the country follow me." He wound the border of his toga about his head either to induce a greater number to go with him by the singularity of his appearance, or to make for himself, as it were, a helmet as a sign of battle for those who looked on, or in order to conceal from the gods what he was about to do. When he arrived at the temple and advanced against the partisans of Gracchus they yielded to the reputation of a foremost citizen, for they saw the Senate following with him. The latter wrested clubs out of the hands of the Gracchans themselves, or with fragments of broken benches or other apparatus that had been brought for the use of the assembly, began beating them, and pursued them, and drove them over the precipice.2 In the tumult many of the Gracchans perished, and Gracchus himself was caught3 near the temple, and was slain at the door close by the statues of the kings. All the bodies were thrown by night into the Tiber.

1 The temple to the goddess of Public Faith was on the Capitoline hill.

2 The Capitoline hill was flanked by the Tarpeian Rock.

3 Reading ἁλώμενος, which Mendelssohn prefers instead of εἰλούμενος.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LACI´NIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ROMA
    • Smith's Bio, Sci'pio
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