This expression of Postumius being conveyed to the soldiers, excited in the camp much greater indignation. “Did the embezzler of the spoils and the defrauder threaten woe also to the soldiers?”
Accordingly, when the murmur of indignation now became avowed, and the quaestor, Publius Sestius, thought that the mutiny might be quashed by the same violence by which it had been excited; on his sending a lictor to one of the soldiers who was clamorous, when a tumult and scuffle arose from the circumstance, being struck with a stone he retired from the crowd;
the person who had given the blow, further observing with a sneer, “That the quaestor got what the general had threatened to the soldiers.”
Postumius being sent for in consequence of the disturbance, exasperated every thing by the severity of his inquiries and the cruelty of his punishment. At last, when he set no bounds to his resentment, a crowd collecting at the cries of those whom he had ordered to be put to death under a hurdle, he himself madly ran down from his tribunal to those who were interrupting the execution.
There, when the lictors, endeavouring to disperse them, as also the centurions, irritated the crowd, their indignation burst forth to such a degree, that the military tribune was overwhelmed with stones by his own army.
When an account was brought to Rome of so heinous a deed, the military tribunes endeavouring to procure a decree of the senate for an inquiry into the death of their colleague, the tribunes of the people entered their protest.
But that contention branched out of another subject of dispute; because the patricians had become uneasy lest the commons, through dread of the inquiries and through resentment, might elect military tribunes from their own body: and they strove with all their might that consuls should be elected.
When the plebeian tribunes did not suffer the decree of the senate to pass, and when they also protested against the election of consuls, the [p. 309]
affair was brought to an interregnum. The victory was then on the side of the patricians.