The people straightway commanded the tribes1
to be called, and it seemed that the measure would be accepted; nevertheless it was put off for that day on account of a veto.
on the following day the tribunes were cowed and the law was passed with acclamation. to be pontiffs were chosen the advocate of the law, Publius Decius Mus, with Publius Sempronius Sophus, Gaius Marcius Rutulus, and Marcus Livius Denter; the five augurs were likewise of the plebs, Gaius Genucius, Publius Aelius Paetus, Marcus Minucius Faesus, Gaius Marcius, and Titus Publilius. thus the number of pontiffs became eight and of augurs nine.
in the same year Marcus Valerius the consul proposed a law of appeal with stricter sanctions. this was the third time since the expulsion of the kings that such a law had been introduced, by the same family in every instance.2
The reason for renewing it more than once was, I think, simply this, that the wealth of a few carried more power than the liberty of the plebs. yet the Porcian law alone seems to have been passed to protect the persons of the citizens, imposing, as it did, a heavy penalty if anyone should scourge or put to death a Roman citizen.3
The Valerian law, having forbidden that [p. 391]
he who had appealed should be scourged with rods4
or beheaded, merely provided that if anyone should disregard these injunctions it should be deemed a wicked act.
this seemed, I suppose, a sufficiently strong sanction of the law, so modest were men in those days;
at the present time one would hardly utter such a threat in earnest.
The same consul conducted an insignificant campaign against the rebellious Aequi, who retained nothing of their ancient fortune but a warlike spirit.
Apuleius, the other consul, laid siege to the town of Nequinum in Umbria. it was a steep place and on one side precipitous —the site is now occupied by Narnia —and could be captured neither by assault nor by siege operations.
The enterprise was therefore still unfinished when Marcus Fulvius Paetus5
and Titus Manlius Torquatus, the new consuls, took it over.
Licinius Macer and Tubero declare that all the centuries were for naming Quintus Fabius consul for this year, though he was not a candidate, but that Fabius himself urged them to defer his consulship to a year when there was more fighting; just then he would be of greater service to the state if invested with an urban magistracy.
and so, neither dissembling what he had in mind nor yet seeking it, he was elected curule aedile, with Lucius Papirius Cursor.6
i have been unable to put this down for certain, because Piso, one of the older annalists,7
states that the curule aediles for that year were Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus, the son of [p. 393]
Gnaeus, and Spurius Carvilius Maximus, the son of8
i fancy that this surname occasioned an error in regard to the aediles, and that a story afterwards grew up in harmony with the error, from a confusion of the aedilician with the consular elections.
this year witnessed also the closing of the lustrum,9
by the censors Publius Sempronius Sophus and Publius Sulpicius Saverrio, and two tribes were added —the Aniensis and the Terentina. so much for affairs at Rome.