This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
As there seemed to be no solution of the difficulty and a kind of mental torpor appeared to beset the senate, the consul Laevinus came to the rescue.  "As the magistrates," he said, "take precedence of the senate and the senate of the people in honour and dignity; so they ought to lead the way in discharging unpleasant and difficult tasks.  If, in laying any obligation on an inferior, you have first decided that it is binding on you and those connected with you, you will find that all are more ready to obey you. They do not feel an expense to be burdensome when they see each of their leaders bearing more than his due share of it.  We want the Roman people to have fleets and to equip them, we want each citizen to furnish rowers and not to shirk his duty; then let us impose the burden on ourselves first of all.  Let us, every one of us, bring our gold and silver and bronze money, tomorrow, to the treasury, only reserving the rings for ourselves, our wives and our children, and the bullae for our boys. Those who have wives and daughters may keep an ounce of gold for each of them.  With regard to silver, those who have occupied curule chairs should keep the plating on their horse-trappings and two pounds of silver that they may have a dish and saltcellar for the gods. All the other senators should keep only one pound of silver.  In the case of bronze coin let us retain 5000 ases for each household.  All the rest of our gold and silver and money let us place in the hands of the commissioners of the treasury. No formal resolution should be passed; our contributions must be strictly voluntary; and our mutual rivalry to assist the commonwealth may stir up the equestrian order to emulate us, and after them, the plebs.  This is the only course which we consuls have been able to devise after our lengthy discussion, and we beg you to adopt it with the help of the gods. As long as the commonwealth is safe, each man's property is safe under its protection, but if you desert it, it will be in vain that you try to keep what you have."  These suggestions were so favourably received that the consuls were even thanked for them.  No sooner did the senate adjourn, than they each brought their gold and silver and bronze to the treasury, and they were so eager to be among the first to have their names inscribed in the public register that the commissioners were not able to take over the amounts or the clerks to enter them fast enough.  The equestrian order showed quite as much zeal as the senate, and the plebs were not behind the equestrian order. In this way, without any formal order or compulsion by the magistrates, the full complement of rowers was made up, and the State put in a position to pay them. As the preparations for war were now complete the consuls started for their respective provinces.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.