The consuls of the succeeding year were, Caius Junius Bubulcus a third time, and Quintus Aemilius Barbula a se- cond. In the commencement of their office, they complained before the people, that, by the improper choice of members of the senate, that body had been disgraced, several having been passed over who were preferable to the persons chosen in;
and they declared, that they would pay no regard to such election, which had been made without distinction of right or wrong, merely to gratify interest or humour: they then im- mediately called over the list of the senate, in the same order which had existed before the censorship of Appius Claudius and Caius Plautius.
Two public employments, both relating to military affairs, came this year into the disposal of the peo- ple; one being an order, that sixteen of the tribunes, for four legions, should be appointed by the people; whereas hitherto they had been generally in the gift of the dictators and con- [p. 601]
suls, very few of the places being left to suffrage. This order was proposed by Lucius Atilius and Caius Marcius, plebeian tribunes. Another was, that the people likewise should constitute two naval commissioners, for the equipping and refitting of the fleet.
The person who introduced this order of the people, was Marcus Decius, plebeian tribune. Another transaction of this year I should pass over as trifling, did it not seem to bear some relation to religion.
The flute-players, taking offence because they had been prohibited by the last censors from holding their repasts in the temple of Jupiter, which had been customary from very early times, went off in a body to Tibur; so that there was not one left in the city to play at the sacrifices. The religious tendency of this affair gave uneasiness to the senate; and they sent envoys to Tibur to endeavour that these men might be sent back to Rome.
The Tiburtines readily promised compliance, and first, calling them into the senate-house, warmly recommended to them to return to Rome;
and then, when they could not be prevailed on, practised on them an artifice not ill adapted to the dispositions of that description of people:
on a festival day, they invited them separately to their several houses, apparently with the intention of heightening the pleasure of their feasts with music, and there plied them with wine, of which such people are always fond, until they laid them asleep.
In this state of insensibility they threw them into waggons, and carried them away to Rome: nor did they know any thing of the matter, until, the waggons having been left in the forum, the light surprised them, still heavily sick from the debauch.
The people then crowded about them, and, on their consenting at length to stay, privilege was granted them to ramble about the city in full dress, with music, and the licence which is now practised every year during three days. And that licence, which we see practised at present, and the right of being fed in the temple, was restored to those who played at the sacrifices. These incidents occurred while the public attention was deeply engaged by two most important wars.