After the battle had gone in this way, so great a panic seized Tarquin and the Etruscans that the two armies of Veii
, on the approach of night, despairing of success, left the field and departed for their homes.
The story of the battle was enriched by marvels. In the silence of the next night a great voice is said to have come from the forest of Arsia, believed to be the voice of Silvanus, which spoke thus: ‘The fallen of the Tusci are one more than those of their foe; the Roman is conqueror.’
At all events the Romans left the field as victors; the Etruscans regarded themselves as vanquished, for when daylight appeared not a single enemy was in sight.
P. Valerius, the consul, collected the spoils and returned in triumph to Rome
He celebrated his colleague's obsequies with all the pomp possible in those days, but far greater honour was done to the dead by the universal mourning, which was rendered specially noteworthy by the fact that the matrons were a whole year in mourning for him, because he had been such a determined avenger of violated chastity.
this the surviving consul, who had been in such favour with the multitude, found himself —such is its fickleness —not only unpopular but an object of suspicion, and that of a very grave character.
It was rumoured that he was aiming at monarchy, for he had held no election to fill Brutus' place, and he was building a house on the top of the Velia
, an impregnable fortress was being constructed on that high and strong position.
The consul felt hurt at finding these rumours so widely believed, and summoned the people to an assembly. As he entered the ‘fasces
were lowered, to the great delight of the multitude, who understood that it was to them that they were lowered as an open avowal that the dignity and might of the people were greater than those of the
consul. Then, after securing silence, he began to eulogise the good fortune of his colleague who had met his death, as a liberator of his country, possessing the highest honour it could bestow, fighting for the commonwealth, whilst his glory was as yet undimmed by jealousy and distrust. Whereas he himself had outlived his glory and fallen on days of suspicion and opprobrium; from being a liberator of his country he had sunk to the level of the Aquilii and
Vitellii. ‘Will you,’ he cried, ‘never deem any man's merit so assured that it cannot be tainted by suspicion? Am I, the most determined foe to kings, to dread the suspicion of desiring to be one
myself? Even if I were dwelling in the Citadel on the Capitol, am I to believe it possible that I should be feared by my fellow-citizens? Does my reputation amongst you hang on so slight a thread? Does your confidence rest upon such a weak foundation that it is of greater moment where I am than who I
am? The house of Publius Valerius shall be no check upon your freedom, your Velia
shall be safe. I will not only move my house to level ground, but I will move it to the bottom of the hill that you may dwell above the citizen whom you suspect. Let those dwell on the Velia
who are regarded as truer friends of liberty than Publius
Valerius.’ All the materials were forthwith carried below the Velia and his house was built at the very bottom of the hill where now stands the temple of Vica Pota