To the calamities received from the enemy, the decemvirs add two flagitious deeds, one abroad, and the other in the city.
In the Sabine district, Lucius Siccius, who, during the [p. 211]
unpopularity of the decemvirs, introduced, in secret conversation with the common soldiers, mention of electing tribunes and of a secession, was sent forwards to select a place for a camp:
instructions were given to the soldiers whom they had sent to accompany him in that expedition, to attack him in a convenient place and slay him.
They did not kill him with impunity; for several of the assassins fell around him resisting them, whilst, possessing great personal strength and with a courage equal to that strength, he was defending himself against them, now surrounded as he was.
The rest bring an account into the camp that Siccius, when fighting bravely, had fallen into an ambush, and that some soldiers were lost with him.
At first the narrators were believed; afterwards a cohort, which went by permission of the decemvirs to bury those who had fallen, when they observed that none of the bodies there were stripped, that Siccius lay in the middle with his arms, all the bodies being turned towards him, whilst there was neither any body of the enemy, nor even any traces of them as going away; they brought back his body, saying, that he had certainly been slain by his own men.
The camp was now filled with indignation, and it was being determined that Siccius should be forthwith brought to Rome, had not the decemvirs hastened to perform a military funeral for him at the public expense. He was buried amid the great grief of the soldiery, and with the worst possible reputation of the decemvirs among the common people.