At Rome, as the commons gained the victory so far as to have the kind of elections which they preferred, so in the issue of the elections the patricians were victorious;
for, contrary to the expectation of all, three patricians were elected military tribunes with consular power, Caius Julius Julus, Publius Cornelius Cossus, Caius Servilius Ahala.
They say that an artifice was employed by the patricians (with which the Icilii charged them even at the time); that by intermixing a crowd of unworthy candidates with the deserving, they turned away the thoughts of the people from the plebeian through the disgust excited by the remarkable meanness of some.
Then tidings are brought that the Volscians and Aequans, whether the retention of the citadel of Carventa raised their hopes, or the loss of the garrison at Verrugo excited their resentment, united in making preparations for war with the utmost energy:
that the Antians were the chief promoters of the project; that their ambassadors had gone about the states of both these nations, upbraiding their dastardly conduct; that shut up within their walls, they had on the preceding year suffered the Romans to carry their depredations throughout their country, and the garrison of Verrugo to be overpowered.
That now not only armed troops but colonies also were sent into their territories; and that not only the Romans distributed among themselves and kept their property, but that they had made a present to the Hernici of Ferentinum what had been taken from them.
After their minds were inflamed by these remonstrances, according as they made applications to each, a great number of young men were enlisted. Thus the youth of all the states were drawn together to Antium: there they pitched their camp and awaited the enemy.
When these accounts are reported at Rome with much greater alarm than the circumstance warranted, the senate instantly ordered a [p. 315]
dictator to be nominated, which was their last resource in perilous circumstances.
They say that Julius and Cornelius were much offended at this proceeding, and that the matter was accomplished with great warmth of temper:
when the leading men of the patricians, complaining fruitlessly that the military tribunes would not conform to the judgment of the senate, at last appealed even to the tribunes of the commons, and stated that force had been used even with the consuls by that body on a similar occasion.
The plebeian tribunes, overjoyed at the dissension among the patricians, said, “that there was no support in persons who were not held in the rank of citizens, nor even of human beings;
if ever the posts of honour were open, and the administration of government were shared, that they should then see that the decrees of the senate should not be invalidated by the arrogance of magistrates;
that in the mean while, the patricians, unrestrained as they were by respect for laws or magistrates, must manage the tribunitian office also by themselves.”