MARCUS GENUClUS and Gaius Curtius succeeded1
these men as consuls. It was a year of quarrels both at home and abroad. For at its commencement Gaius Canuleius, a tribune of the plebs, proposed a bill regarding the intermarriage of patricians and plebeians which the patricians looked upon as involving the debasement of their blood and the subversion of the principles inhering in the gentes,
and a suggestion, cautiously put forward at first by the tribunes, that it should be lawful for one of the consuls to be chosen from the plebs, was afterwards carried so far that nine tribunes proposed a bill giving the people power to choose consuls as they might see fit, from either the plebs or the patriciate.
To carry out this last proposal would be, in the estimation of the patricians, not merely to give a share of the supreme authority to the lowest of the citizens, but actually to take it away from the nobles and bestow it on the plebs.
The Fathers therefore rejoiced to hear that the people of Ardea had revolted because of the unjust decision which deprived them of their land; that the men of Veii had ravaged the Roman frontier; and that the Volsci and Aequi were murmuring at the fortification of Verrugo;2
so decidedly did they prefer even an unfortunate war to an ignominious peace.
Accordingly they made the most of these threats, that the proposals of the tribunes might be silenced amidst the [p. 259]
din or so many wars; and ordered levies to be held3
and military preparations to be made with the utmost energy, and if possible, even more strenuously than had been done when Titus Quinctius was consul.
Thereupon Gaius Canuleius curtly proclaimed in the senate that it was in vain the consuls sought to frighten the plebs out of their concern for the new laws; and, declaring that they should never hold the levy, while he lived, until the plebs had voted on the measures which he and his colleagues had brought forward, at once convened an assembly.