The year was now near a close, and with regard to the election of consuls, emulation was more fiercely kindled than was ever known before.
The candidates, both patrician and plebeian, were many and powerful: Publius Cornelius Scipio, son to Cneius, and who had lately come home from Spain, having performed great exploits; Lucius Quinctius Flamininus, who had commanded the fleet in Greece; and
Cneius Manlius Vulso; these were the patricians.
Then there were, of plebeian rank, Caius Laelius, Cneius Domitius, Caius Livius Salinator, and Manius Acilius.
The eyes of all men were turned on Quinctius and Cornelius; for, being both patricians, they sued for one place; and they were both of them recommended by high and recent renown in war. Above every thing else, the brothers of the candidates, the two most illustrious generals of the age, increased the violence of the struggle.
Scipio's fame was the more splendid, [p. 1562]
and in proportion to its greater splendour, the more obnoxious to envy. That of Quinctius was the most recent, as he had triumphed in the course of that very same year.
Besides, the former had now for almost ten years been continually in people's sight; which circumstance, by the mere effect of satiety, causes great characters to be less revered. He had been a second time consul after the final defeat of Hannibal, and also censor.
All Quinctius's claims to the favour of the public were fresh and new; since his triumph, he had neither asked nor received any thing from the people; “he solicited,” he said, “in favour of his own brother, not of a half-brother; in favour of his lieutenant-general, and partner in the administration of the war;
his brother having conducted the operations by sea, while he did the same on land.” By these arguments he carried his point.
His brother was preferred to the brother of Africanus, though supported by the whole Cornelian family, and while one of the same family presided at the election, and notwithstanding the very honourable testimony given by the senate, in his favour, when it adjudged him to be the best man in the state: and as such, appointed him to receive the Idaean Mother into the city, when she was brought from Pessinus.
Lucius Quinctius and Cneius Domitius Ahenobarbus were elected consuls; so that, not even with respect to the plebeian consul, could Africanus prevail; for he employed his interest in favour of Caius Laelius.
Next day were elected praetors, Lucius Scribonius Libo, Marcus Fulvius Centumalus, Aulus Atilius Serranus, Marcus Baebius Tamphilus, Lucius Valerius Tappus, and Quintus Salonius Sarra. The aedileship of this year was highly distinguished, namely, that of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Lucius Aemilius Paulus. They prosecuted to conviction many of the farmers of the public pastures, and with the money accruing from the fines, placed gilded shields in the upper part of the temple of Jupiter.
They built one colonnade, on the outside of the gate Tergemina, to which they added a wharf on the Tiber: and another, reaching from the Frontinal gate to the altar of Mars, to serve as a passage into the field of Mars.