The speech of Appius availed no further1
than to put off the passing of the measures.
Returned for the tenth time to office, the tribunes Sextius and Licinius obtained the enactment of a law requiring that half the board of ten who had charge of sacred rites should be plebeians.2
Having elected five patricians and five plebeians, the people felt that they had set a precedent for the consulship.
Satisfied with their victory, the plebs gave way to the patricians, and relinquishing for the moment discussion about the consuls, permitted the election of military tribunes. Those chosen were Aulus and Marcus Cornelius (for their second terms), Marcus Geganius, Publius Manlius, Lucius Veturius, and (for the sixth time) Publius Valerius.
Rome's foreign relations were now peaceful everywhere except for the siege of Velitrae —the result of which, though delayed, was scarce in doubt —when a sudden rumour of a Gallic war drove the state to appoint Marcus Furius to his fifth dictatorship. He nominated Titus Quinctius Poenus to be [p. 349]
master of the horse.
relates that the4
battle with the Gauls took place that year near the river Anio; and that this was the occasion of the famous duel on the bridge in which Titus Manlius slew a Gaul who had challenged him to combat, and despoiled him of his chain, while the two armies looked on.
But I am more inclined to believe, with the majority of our authorities, that this exploit took place no less than ten years later,5
and that in the year of which I am now writing, the dictator, Marcus Furius, fought a battle against the Gauls on Alban soil.
Notwithstanding the great terror occasioned by the invasion of the Gauls and the recollection of their old defeat, the Romans gained a victory that was neither difficult nor uncertain.
Many thousands of barbarians fell in battle, and many after the camp was taken. The others roamed about, making mostly towards Apulia, and owed their escape from the Romans to their distant flight and the dispersion which resulted from their panic and their straggling.
The dictator was awarded a triumph with the consent of both senate and plebs.
Hardly had Camillus brought the war to an end, when he was confronted with a fiercer opposition in the City. After desperate struggles the senate and the dictator were beaten, and the measures advocated by the tribunes were adopted.
An election of consuls was held, against the wishes of the nobles, and resulted in the choice of Lucius Sextius, the first of the plebeians to attain that honour. Even this did not end their disputes.
The patricians declared that they would not ratify the election, and the affair had almost led to a [p. 351]
secession of the plebs and threatened other terrible6
embroilments, when the dictator finally proposed a compromise which allayed the discord; the nobles gave way to the plebs in regard to the plebeian consul, and the plebs conceded to the nobles that they might elect from the patricians one praetor to administer justice in the City.7
Thus after their long quarrel the orders were reconciled at last. The senate decided that this was a fitting occasion to honour the immortal gods —who deserved it then, if ever at any time —by celebrating the Great Games, and voted that one day should be added to the customary three;
this burden the aediles of the plebs refused to shoulder, whereupon the young patricians called out that they would willingly do it for the sake of honouring the gods.
The entire people united in thanks to them, and the senate decreed that the dictator should hold a popular election of two aediles8
to be chosen from the patricians, and that the Fathers should ratify all the elections of that year.