The “sacred spring” had been celebrated in the previous year, during the consulship of Marcus Porcius and Lucius Valerius.1
Since Publius Licinius the pontiff had announced, first to the college, and then, by the direction of the college, to the senate, that this had not been properly performed, the Fathers voted that it should be celebrated anew under the supervision of the pontiffs, and that the Great Games, which had been vowed at the same time,2
should be performed with the customary appropriation of the necessary funds;
the “sacred spring” was defined as including all the animals born between the Calends of March and the day preceding the Calends of May in the consulship of Publius Cornelius and Tiberius Sempronius.
The election of censors was then held, and Sextus Aelius Paetus and Gaius Cornelius Cethegus were chosen. As princeps senatus3
they made the consul Publius Scipio their choice, who had been the choice of the previous censors as well.4
They passed over5
only three senators, none of whom had held a curule [p. 533]
They won great favour with that order in6
another way, since at the Roman Games they ordered the curule aediles to separate the senatorial seats from those of the commons; for up to that time the seats from which they watched the games were taken indiscriminately. Very few of the knights were degraded by the taking away of their horses, nor was severity shown towards any rank. The atrium Libertatis
and the villa publica7
were rebuilt and enlarged by the same censors.
The “sacred spring” was celebrated and the votive Roman Games performed according to the vow made by Servius Sulpicius Galba.8
While men's minds were intent upon this spectacle, Quintus Pleminius,9
who, on account of the many crimes against gods and men which he had committed at Locri, had been thrown into prison, had arranged that men should at night set fire to the city in several places, so that in a state panic-stricken by the disturbance at night the prison might be broken open.
This was revealed by the testimony of his accomplices and was laid before the senate. Pleminius was transferred to the lower prison10
and put to death.