As the proceedings of the plebeian tribunes had not yet attained a termination, both the commons exerted themselves to continue their office for the promoters of the law, and the patricians to re-elect the opponents of the law; but the commons were more successful in the election of their own magistrates.
Which annoyance the patricians avenged by passing a decree of the senate that consuls should be elected, magistrates detested by the commons. After an interval of fifteen years, Lucius Lucretius Flavus and Servius Sulpicius Camerinus were appointed consuls.
In the beginning of this year, whilst the tribunes of the commons united their efforts to pass the law, because none of their college were likely to oppose them, and the consuls resisted them with no less energy, the Aequans storm Vitellia, a Roman colony in their territory.
The chief part of the colonists made their way in safety to Rome, because the town, having been taken by treachery in the night, afforded an unimpeded mode of escape by the remote side of the city. That province fell to the lot of Lucius Lucretius the consul.
He having set out with his army, vanquished the enemy in the field; and returned victorious to Rome to a much more serious contest.
A day of trial had been appointed for Aulus Virginius and Quintus Pomponius, plebeian tribunes of the two preceding years, in whose defence by the combined power of the patricians, the honour of the senate was involved. For no one laid against them any other impeachment, either of their mode of life or of their conduct in office, save that, to gratify the patricians, they had protested against the tribunitian law.
The resentment of the commons, however, prevailed over the influence of the senate; and by a most pernicious precedent these men, though innocent, were condemned [to pay a fine of] ten thousand asses
in weight. At this the patricians were very much incensed.
Camillus openly charged the commons with gross violation of duty, “who, now turning their venom against their own body, [p. 361]
did not feel that by their iniquitous sentence on the tribune they abolished the right of protesting; that abolishing this right of protesting, they had upset the tribunitian authority.
For they were mistaken in expecting that the patricians would tolerate the unbridled licentiousness of that office. If tribunitian violence could not be repelled by tribunitian aid, that the patricians would find out some other weapon.”
The consuls he also blamed, because they had in silence suffered those tribunes who had followed the authority of the senate to be deceived by [their reliance] on the public faith. By openly expressing these sentiments, he every day still further exasperated the angry feelings of the people.