In the following year, when the consular1
tribunes were Aulus Manlius, Publius Cornelius, Titus and Lucius Quinctius Capitolinus, Lucius Papirius Cursor (for the second time) and Gaius Sergius (for the second time), a serious foreign war broke out, and an even more serious domestic schism.
The war was set on foot by the Volsci, in conjunction with a revolt on the part of the Latins and Hernici; the schism originated where such a thing was least to be apprehended, with a man of patrician family and high renown, Marcus Manlius Capitolinus.
This man, scorning, in his overweening pride, the other nobles, but envying the one who excelled them all in honours and good qualities, namely Marcus Furius, could ill endure that Camillus should at last have attained to such solitary eminence, both amongst the magistrates and in the armies, as to have those who had been chosen under the same auspices not for colleagues but for servants;
whereas —if one considered the situation fairly —it would have been impossible for Marcus Furius to redeem his native City from the leaguer of her enemies, unless Manlius himself had before that saved the Capitol and Citadel.
Camillus had assailed the Gauls while they were receiving the gold and while their resolution was relaxed by thoughts of peace; but he himself had driven them back, as they came on, sword in hand, in the act of taking the Citadel. Of the glory of Camillus a goodly portion belonged to all the soldiers who had conquered with him: in his own victory it was acknowledged that no mortal soever had a share.
Puffed up with these [p. 233]
opinions, and being besides, through a defect of2
nature, impetuous and passionate, when he perceived that his abilities did not bring him that leadership amongst the nobles
which he thought they merited, he was the first of all the patricians to turn demagogue and to cast in his lot with the plebeian magistrates. He abused the nobles, he courted the favour of the plebs; and swept along by the breath of popularity and not by good counsel chose rather to be reputed great than virtuous.
Moreover, not content with agrarian proposals, which had ever served the tribunes to stir up sedition, he began an attack on credit; for he held that debt was a sharper goad, since it not only threatened poverty and shame, but terrified the freeman with the thought of shackles and imprisonment.
And in fact there had been a vast piling up of debts, by reason of a thing that is ruinous even to the rich, to wit, building. And so the Volscian war, grave in itself and made still graver by the defection of the Latins and Hernici, was alleged as a reason for seeking a greater authority;
but the revolutionary schemes of Manlius were the more compelling cause of the senate's naming a dictator. They appointed Aulus Cornelius Cossus, who appointed as his master of the horse Titus Quinctius Capitolinus.