To contrast with all this, in the Aequian campaign there subsisted between consul and soldiers an emulation of goodwill and kindness. Not only was it natural to Quinctius to be more gentle, but the unfortunate harshness of his colleague had given him the more reason to be content with his own disposition.
Against this complete harmony between commander and army the Aequi ventured no opposition, but suffered their enemies to devastate their fields at will; and in fact no previous war had ever yielded a larger booty from that country.
This was all given to the troops, and to the spoils were added encomiums, which are no less efficacious than rewards in rejoicing a soldier's heart. Not only their leader, but for their leader's sake the Fathers, too, were looked upon with greater kindness by the army when they returned. They declared that to them the senate had given a parent, to the other army a tyrant.
Varying fortune in war, grievous discord at home and in the field, had characterized the year just ended; but it was chiefly distinguished by the tribal assembly, a matter more important because the men had won a victory in the struggle which they had undertaken than in its practical results;
for the loss of dignity to the assembly itself, caused by the removal from it of the patricians, was greater than the gain in strength by the plebeians or the loss of it by the Fathers.