That same night Tusculum received tidings of the capture of the Citadel, the seizure of the Capitol, and the general disorder in the City.
Lucius Mamilius was then dictator at Tusculum. He at once convoked the senate; and having introduced the messengers, expressed an earnest conviction that they ought not to wait till ambassadors should come from Rome requesting help;
her perilous and critical situation spoke for itself —the gods of their alliance and the obligations of their treaty called on them to act. Heaven would never bestow on them an equal opportunity to earn the gratitude of so powerful and so near a state, by doing it a service.
The senate resolved to help. The young men were enrolled, and arms were issued. As they marched towards Rome in the early dawn, the Tusculans, who were seen a long way off, were taken for enemies; it looked like an invasion of the Aequi or the Volsci.
When the alarm proved groundless, they were [p. 63]
received into the City, and marched in column down1
into the Forum. There they found Publius Valerius, who had left his colleague to protect the gates and was marshalling his army.
The personal influence of the man had prevailed. He had assured the people that when the Capitol should be won back and peace restored in the City, if they would permit him to point out to them the mischief which lurked in the law the tribunes were proposing, he would remember his forefathers and the surname with which he had, as it were, inherited from those forefathers the charge of caring for the people, nor would he interfere with the council of the plebs.
Following him as their leader, despite the idle efforts of the tribunes to restrain them, they advanced up the Clivus Capitolinus, accompanied by the troops from Tusculum.
It was a contest between the allies and the citizens, which should obtain the honour of recovering the Citadel. The leader of each party urged on his followers. The enemy now began to quake with fear, having no great confidence in anything but their position. As they stood there quaking, the Romans and their allies assailed them.
They had already burst into the vestibule of the temple, when Publius Valerius was killed, as he was directing the attack in the van. Publius Volumnius, a former consul, saw him fall. Charging his men to cover up the body, he threw himself into the consul's place. In the ardour and enthusiasm of the soldiers so important an event passed unnoticed; and they had won the victory before they realized that they were fighting without their leader.
Many of the exiles stained the temples with their blood; many were taken alive; Herdonius was slain. Thus the Capitol [p. 65]
was regained. The captives, according as they were2
free or slave, paid the penalty appropriate in each case to their condition; the Tusculans were thanked; the Capitol was purged and ceremonially purified.
It is said that the plebeians flung their coppers into the consul's house, that he might be given a grander funeral.3