A shout of approval burst from every throat, and Titus Quinctius, advancing in front of the standards, announced that the soldiers would submit to the dictator's authority. He begged him to undertake the cause of his wretched fellow-citizens, and having done so to forward it with the same fidelity with which he had been used to deal with the interests of the state.
For himself privately, he said, he demanded no assurance, he had no wish to found a hope on aught but innocence. But the soldiers must be assured, as in their fathers' day the plebs had been, and, on a second occasion, the legions, that they should not be punished for secession.1
After praising Quinctius and bidding the rest be of good cheer, the dictator galloped back to the City, and having secured the authority of the [p. 511]
Fathers, got the people to enact a law, in the2
that none of the soldiers should be held to answer for the secession.
He begged them also, as citizens, to grant him the favour that none would make the incident a matter of reproach to any, either in jest or in earnest. There was also passed a military law, under penalty of devotion,4
to the effect that the name of no one enrolled as a soldier might be struck off the list, except with his own consent.
To this a provision was added that no one might later command a century in the legion where he had been a military tribune.5
This clause was demanded by the conspirators on account of Publius Salonius, who in almost regular alternation was tribune of the soldiers one year, and chief centurion —whom they now call “centurion of the first javelin” —the next. The men were incensed at Salonius because lie had always opposed their mutinous schemes, and had fled from Lautulae that he might not share in them.
And so, when this one provision would have failed of enactment by the senate, out of consideration for Salonius, he himself besought the Fathers not to think more highly of his distinction than of harmony in the state, and induced them to pass this also.
An equally shameless demand was made that the pay of the cavalry should be reduced —they served at that time for treble pay —on the ground that they had opposed the conspiracy.