This year will stand out as the one in which a1
“new man” held the consulship, and also for the establishment of two new magistracies, the praetorship and the curule aedileship. These dignities the patricians had devised for themselves, to compensate them for the second consulship, which they had granted to the commons.
The plebs bestowed their consulship on Lucius Sextius, by whose law it had been won. The patricians, through their influence in the Campus Martius,2
obtained the praetorship for Spurius Furius Camillus, the son of Marcus, and the aedileship for Gnaeus Quinctius Capitolinus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, who belonged to their own houses.
Lucius Aemilius Mamercus was chosen from the patricians as colleague of Lucius Sextius. Early in the year there was some talk about the Gauls —who having at first scattered through Apulia were now rumoured to be gathering —and about a defection on the part of the Hernici.
The patricians purposely deferred all action, in order that the plebeian consul might have no hand in anything;
it seemed from the general hush and lack of bustle as though a cessation of the courts had been proclaimed; save that the tribunes would not suffer it to pass in silence that the nobles, in return for one plebeian consul, had got three patrician magistrates for themselves, who wore the purple-bordered toga and sat, like consuls, [p. 359]
in curule chairs, while the praetor even dealt out3
been elected as a colleague to the consuls and under the same auspices. In consequence of this criticism the senate was ashamed to order that the curule aediles be chosen from the patricians.
At first it was arranged to take them from the plebs in alternate years: later the election was thrown open without distinction.
Then came the consulship of Lucius Genucius and Quintus Servilius. There was neither party strife nor war to disturb the peace, but lest there should ever be freedom from fear and danger, a great pestilence broke out.
It is stated that a censor, a curule aedile, and three plebeian tribunes died, with a correspondingly large number from the rest of the population. But what chiefly made this pestilence noteworthy was the death of Marcus Furius, who, though ripe in years, was bitterly regretted.
For he was truly a man of singular excellence whether in good or evil fortune; foremost in peace and in war before his banishment, and in exile even more distinguished, whether one thinks of the yearning of his countrymen who called on him in his absence to save their captured City, or of the success with which on being restored to his country he restored the country itself at the same time;
after this for five and twenty years —for he survived so long —he maintained his glorious reputation, and was deemed worthy of being named next after Romulus, as Rome's second Founder.