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(216 B.C.)Servilius and Regulus had their commands extended for another year. The interreges appointed by the senate were C. Claudius Cento, son of Appius, and P. Cornelius Asina. The latter conducted the elections amidst a bitter struggle between the patricians and the plebs.  C. Terentius Varro, a member of their own order, had ingratiated himself with the plebs by his attacks upon the leading men in the State and by all the tricks known to the demagogue. His success in shaking the influence of Fabius and weakening the authority of the Dictator had invested him with a certain glory in the eyes of the mob, which was heightened by the other's unpopularity, and they did their utmost to raise him to the consulship.  The patricians opposed him with their utmost strength, dreading lest it should become a common practice for men to attack them as a means of rising to an equality with them. Q. Baebius Herennius, a relation of Varro's, accused not only the senate, but even the augurs, because they had prevented the Dictator from carrying the elections through, and by thus embittering public opinion against them, he strengthened the feeling in favour of his own candidate.  "It was by the nobility," he declared, "who had for many years been trying to get up a war, that Hannibal was brought into Italy, and when the [5??] war might have been brought to a close, it was they who were unscrupulously protracting it. The advantage which M. Minucius gained in the absence of Fabius made it abundantly clear that [6??] with four legions combined, a successful fight could be maintained, but afterwards two legions had been exposed to slaughter at the hands of the enemy, and then rescued at the very last moment in order that he might be called 'Father' and 'Patron' because he would not allow the Romans to conquer before they had been defeated.  Then as to the consuls; though they had it in their power to finish the war they had adopted Fabius' policy and protracted it.  This is the secret understanding that has been come to by all the nobles, and we shall never see the end of the war till we have elected as our consul a man who is really a plebeian, that is, one from the ranks.  The plebeian nobility have all been initiated into the same mysteries; when they are no longer looked down upon by the patricians, they at once begin to look down upon the plebs.  Who does not see that their one aim and object was to bring about an interregnum in order that the elections might be controlled by the patricians? That was the object of the consuls in both staying with the army; then, afterwards, because they had to nominate a Dictator against their will to conduct the elections, they had carried their point by force, and the Dictator's appointment was declared invalid by the augurs.  Well, they have got their interregnum; one consulship at all events belongs to the Roman plebs; the people will freely dispose of it and give it to the man who prefers an early victory to prolonged command."
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