For the time being, then, the patricians were satisfied with this truce, and went away in glad possession of Marcius. But in the time which intervened before the third market-day (for the Romans hold their markets every ninth day, calling them, therefore,
‘nundinae’), a campaign was undertaken against the city of Antium, which led them to hope that the issue might be avoided altogether. The campaign would last long enough, they thought, for the people to become tractable, after their rage had languished or altogether disappeared by reason of their occupation with the war.
But presently, when the citizens returned home after a speedy settlement of their dispute with Antium, the patricians were in frequent conclave, being full of fear, and deliberating how they might not surrender Marcius, and yet prevent the popular leaders from throwing the people again into tumult and disorder. Appius Claudius, indeed, who was counted among those most hostile to the claims of the people, said with all solemnity that the senate would destroy itself and utterly betray the government of the city, if it should suffer the people to wield their vote in judgement on the patricians.
But the oldest senators, and those most inclined to favour the people, maintained on the contrary that it would not be rendered harsh or severe by its exercise of this power, but mild and humane; for since it did not despise the senate, but rather thought itself despised by that body, the prerogative of trying a senator would be a solace to its feelings and a mark of honour, so that as soon as it proceeded to vote it would lay aside its wrath.