In the same year Lucius Duronius, who had been praetor the year before, returned with ten ships from Illyricum to Brun- dusium, and leaving the fleet in that harbour, came to Rome, and in giving a recital of the services which he had performed in his province, he threw the blame of all the piracies committed by sea, on Gentius, king of Illyricum, as their undoubted cause.
“From his kingdom,” he said, “came all the ships that had ravaged the coast of the Hadriatic; that he had sent ambassadors on the subject, but they were not even allowed an audience of the king.”
Some time before this, ambassadors had come to Rome from Gentius, who said, that “when the Romans came for the purpose of holding a conference with the king, he happened to be sick in a remote part of his dominions; and that Gentius requested of the senate, not to give credit to the forged charges which his enemies had made against him.”
Duronius added, that injuries were offered to many Roman citizens and Latin allies, in Gentius's dominions; some of whom he held in confinement in Corcyra.
It was their pleasure that all these should be brought to Rome; that the praetor, Caius Claudius, should inquire into that business; and that until this were done, no answer should be given to king Gentius, or his ambassadors.
Among many others whom the pestilence of this year cut off, several priests also died. Lucius Valerius Flaccus, a pontiff, died of it; and in his room was substituted Quintus Fabius Labeo.
Publius Manlius, who had lately come home from the Farther Spain, and was triumvir of religious feasts, died also; Quintus Fulvius, son of Marcus, then a mere youth, succeeded him.
The appointing of a king of the sacrifices in the room of Cneius Cornelius Dolabella, gave rise to a dispute between Caius Servilius, chief pontiff, and Lucius Cornelius Dolabella, naval duumvir; whom the pontiff ordered to resign his office, to the end that he might inaugurate him; and on the duumvir's refusing to do this, a fine was therefore imposed on him by the pontiff; and when the latter appealed, they contended about the affair [p. 1900]
before the people.
After a majority of the tribes, being called in, had ordered that the duumvir should comply with
the requisition of the pontiff, and that if he would resign his commission the fine should be remitted, an unfavourable omen from the heavens intervened, which broke off the proceedings of the assembly. After this the pontiffs were prevented by religious scruples from inaugurating Dolabella.
They consecrated Publius Claelius Siculus, who had been installed in the second place. Towards the end of the year, Caius Servilius Geminus, the chief pontiff, also died; the same was decemvir of religious affairs. In his room, as pontiff, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus was nominated by the college; but Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, was elected chief pontiff, though many illustrious men sought that office; and Quintus Marcius Philippus was appointed to the office of the same, as decemvir of religious affairs.
Spurius Postumius Albinus, an augur, died; and the augurs elected into his place Publius Scipio, son of Africanus.
On the request of the people of Cumae that year, leave was granted them to use the Latin language in their public business, and that their auctioneers should have a right to use the Latin language in selling.