Marcus Cornelius Maluginensis and Lucius Papirius Crassus being consuls, the armies were led into the territories [p. 274]
of the Veientians and Faliscians; numbers of men and cattle were driven off as spoil;
the enemy was no where to be found on the land, and no opportunity of fighting was afforded; the cities however were not attacked, because a pestilential disorder ran through the people.
Disturbances were also sought at home, but not actually excited, however, by Spurius Maelius, tribune of the people; who thinking that he might create some tumult through the popularity of his name, had both appointed a day of trial for Minucius, and had also proposed a law for confiscating the property of Servilius Ahala:
alleging that Maelius had been circumvented through false impeachments by Minucius, charging Servilius with the killing of a citizen on whom no sentence had been passed; charges which, when brought before the people, proved to be more idle than the author himself.
But the virulence of the disease now becoming worse, was more an object of concern to them, as also the terrors and prodigies, more especially because accounts were being brought, that houses were falling throughout the country, in consequence of frequent earthquakes. A supplication was therefore performed by the people, according to the form dictated by the decemvirs.1
The year being still more pestilential, Caius Julius a second time and Lucius Virginius being consuls, occasioned such dread of desolation
through the city and country, that not only no one left the Roman territory for the purpose of committing depredations, and not only did none of the patricians or
commons entertain an idea of commencing any military aggressions; but the Fidenatians, who at first had shut themselves up either within their town, or mountains, or fortifications, now descended without provocation to commit depredations on the Roman territory. Then the army of the Veientians being called in to their aid, (for the Faliscians could be induced to renew the war neither by the distresses of the Romans,
nor by the remonstrances of their allies,) the two states crossed the Anio; and displayed their ensigns at no great distance from the Colline gate. Great consternation arose therefore, not more in the country than in the city. Julius [p. 275]
the consul draws up his
troops on the rampart and walls; the senate is consulted by Virginius in the temple of Quirinus. It is determined that Aulus Servilius be appointed dictator, who some say had the cognomen of Priscus, others that of Structus. Virginius having delayed whilst he consulted his colleague, with his permission, named the dictator at night. He appoints Postumus Aebutius Elva his master of the horse.