For the year following the capture of Antium
, Titus Aemilius and Quinctius Fabius were made consuls. This was the Fabius who was the sole survivor of the extinction of his house at the Cremera.1
Aemilius had already in his former consulship advocated the grant of land to the plebeians. As he was now consul for the second time, the agrarian party entertained hopes that the Law would be carried out; the tribunes took the matter up in the firm expectation that after so many attempts they would gain their cause, now that one consul, at all events, was supporting them; the consul's views on the question remained unchanged.
Those in occupation of the land-the majority of the patricians complained that the head of the State was adopting the methods of the tribunes and making himself popular by giving away other people's property, and in this way they shifted all the odium from the tribunes on to the consul.
There was every prospect of a serious contest, had not Fabius smoothed matters by a suggestion acceptable to both sides, namely, that as there was a considerable quantity of land which had been taken from the Volscians the previous year, under
the auspicious general-ship of T. Quinctius, a colony might be settled at Antium
, which, as a seaport town, and at no great distance from Rome
, was a suitable city for the purpose.
This would allow the plebeians to enter on public land without any injustice to those in occupa-tion, and so harmony would be restored to the State. This suggestion was adopted. He appointed as the three commis-sioners for the distribution of the land, T. Quinctius, A. Verginius, and P. Furius.
Those who wished to receive a grant were ordered to give in their names. As usual, abundance produced disgust,2 and so few gave in their names that the number was made up by the addition of Volscians as colonists.
The rest of the people preferred to ask for land at Rome
rather than accept it elsewhere. The Aequi sought for peace from Q. Fabius, who had marched against them, but they broke it by a sudden incursion into Latin territory.