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The Capuans were then admitted to an audience. Their case was a harder one, and their appeal for mercy was all the stronger.  They could not deny that they deserved punishment, and there were no tyrants on whom they could throw the blame, but they considered that they had paid an adequate penalty after so many of their senators had been carried off by poison, and so many had died under the axe.  Some of their nobles, they said, were still living, who had not been driven by the consciousness of guilt into doing away with themselves, nor had the victor in his wrath condemned them to death. These men begged that they and their families might be set at liberty, and some portion of their goods restored to them.  They were for the most part Roman citizens, connected with Roman families by intermarriage. After the envoys had withdrawn, there was some doubt as to whether they ought to summon Q. Fulvius from Capua-the consul Claudius had died soon after its capture-in order that the matter might be debated in the presence of the general whose proceedings were being called in question.  This had just been done in the case of Marcellus and the Sicilians. When, however, some senators were seen sitting in the House who had been through the whole of the siege-M. Atilius Regulus and Caius the brother of Flaccus, both on his staff, and Q. Minucius and L. Veturius Philo, who had been members of Claudius' staff-they would not have Q. Fulvius recalled, nor the hearing of the Capuans adjourned.  Amongst those who had been at Capua, the man whose opinion carried most weight was M. Atilius, and he was asked what course he would advise.  He replied: "I believe I was present at the military council which met after the fall of Capua, when the consuls made enquiry as to which of the Capuans had assisted our republic.  They discovered only two, and those were women. One was Vestia Oppia of Atella, who was living in Capua and who offered sacrifices daily for the welfare and triumph of Rome; the other was Cluvia Pacula, at one time a woman of loose character, who secretly supplied the starving prisoners with food.  The rest of the Capuans were just as hostile to us as the Carthaginians themselves, and those whom Q. Fulvius executed were selected rather on account of their higher rank than of their greater guilt. I do not quite see how the senate is competent to deal with the Capuans, who are Roman citizens, without an order of the people.  After the revolt of the Satricans, the course adopted by our ancestors was for a tribune of the plebs, M. Antistius, to bring the matter first before the Assembly, and a resolution was passed empowering the senate to decide what should be done to them. I therefore advise that we arrange with the tribunes of the plebs for one or more of them to propose a resolution to that body empowering us to settle the fate o f the Capuans."  L. Atilius, tribune of the plebs, was authorised by the senate to put the question in the following terms:  "Whereas the inhabitants of Capua, Atella and Calatia, and also the dwellers in the valley of the Sabatus have yielded themselves to the proconsul Fulvius to be at the arbitrament and disposal of the people of Rome, and whereas they have surrendered divers persons together with [13??] themselves, as also their land and city with all things therein, sacred and profane, together with their goods and chattels and whatsoever else they had in possession, I demand of you Quirites to know what it is your will and pleasure shall be done in regard of all these persons and things?"  The resolution of the Assembly ran thus: "What the senate, or the greater part of those who are present, shall, on oath, decree and determine, that we will and order shall be done."
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