the City the tribunes made great efforts to secure the election of consular tribunes for the next year, but they failed. L. Papirius Crassus and L. Julius were made consuls. Envoys came from the Aequi to ask from the senate a treaty as between independent States; instead of this they were offered peace on condition they acknowledged the supremacy of Rome; they obtained a truce for eight
years. After the defeat which the Volscians had sustained on Algidus, their State was distracted by obstinate and bitter quarrels between the advocates of war and those of
peace. There was quiet for Rome in all
quarters. The tribunes were preparing a popular measure to fix the scale of fines, but one of their body betrayed the fact to the consuls, who anticipated the tribunes by bringing it in themselves.
The new consuls were L. Sergius Fidenas, for the second time, and Hostius Lucretius Tricipitinus. Nothing worth recording took place in their
They were followed by A. Cornelius Cossus, and T. Quinctius Poenus for the second time. The Veientines made inroads into the Roman territory, and it was rumoured that some of the Fidenates had taken part in
them. L. Sergius, Q. Servilius, and Mamercus Aemilius were commissioned to investigate the affair. Some were interned at Ostia, as they were unable to account satisfactorily for their absence from Fidenae at that
time. The number of colonists was increased, and the lands of those who had perished in the war were assigned to them.
Very great distress was caused this year by a
drought. Not only was there an absence of water from the heavens, but the earth, through lack of its natural moisture, barely sufficed to keep the rivers flowing. In some cases the want of water made the cattle die of thirst round the dried-up springs and brooks, in others they were carried off by the
mange. This disease spread to the men who had been in contact with them; at first it attacked the slaves and agriculturists, then the City was infected. Nor was it only the body that was affected by the pest, the minds of men also became a prey to all kinds of superstitions, mostly foreign
ones. Pretended soothsayers went about introducing new modes of sacrificing, and did a profitable trade amongst the victims of
superstition, until at last the sight of strange un-Roman modes of propitiating the wrath of the gods in the streets and chapels brought home to the leaders of the commonwealth the public scandal which was being
caused. The aediles were instructed to see to it that none but Roman deities were worshipped, nor in any other than the established fashion.
with the Veientines were postponed till the following year, when Caius Servilius Ahala and L. Papirius Mugilanus were the
consuls. Even then the formal declaration of war and the despatch of troops were delayed on religious grounds; it was considered necessary that the fetials should first be sent to demand
satisfaction. There had been recent battles with the Veientines at Nomentum and Fidenae, and a truce had been made, not a lasting peace, but before the days of truce had expired they had renewed hostilities. The fetials, however, were sent, but when they presented their demands, in accordance with ancient usage3
, they were refused a
hearing. A question then arose whether war should be declared by the mandate of the people, or whether a resolution passed by the senate was sufficient. The tribunes threatened to stop the levying of troops and succeeded in forcing the consul Quinctius to refer the question to the
people. The centuries decided unanimously for war. The plebs gained a further advantage in preventing the election of consuls for the next year.