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27. Marcius was therefore called in, and held a conference with the assembly; they saw from his speech that he was as eloquent as his exploits in arms had taught them that he was warlike, and were convinced of his surpassing intelligence and daring; so they appointed him general with Tullus, and gave him full powers to conduct the war. [2] Fearing, then, that the time needed to equip and marshal the Volscians would be so long as to rob him of his best opportunity for action, he left orders with the magistrates and chief men of the city to assemble and provide the remaining forces and supplies that were requisite, while he himself; after persuading the most ardent spirits to march forth as volunteers with him and not stop for formal enrolment, burst into the Roman territory of a sudden, when no one expected it. [3] Consequently he secured such abundance of booty that the Volscians had more than they could possibly do to use it in their camp or carry it off home. But the abundant supplies secured, and the great injury and damage done to the enemy's country, were, in his eyes, the most insignificant result of that expedition; its chief result, and his main object in making it, was to furnish the people of Rome with fresh charges against the patricians. For while he maltreated and destroyed everything else, he kept a vigorous watch over the lands of the patricians, and would not suffer anyone to hurt them or take anything from them. [4] This led to still further accusations and broils between the parties in the city; the patricians accused the people of unjustly driving out an influential man, and the people charged the patricians with bringing Marcius up against them in a spirit of revenge, and then enjoying the spectacle of what others suffered by the war, while the war itself protected their own wealth and property outside the city. After Marcius had accomplished his purposes, and greatly helped the Volscians towards courage and scorn of their enemies, he led his forces back in safety.1

1 There is nothing of this preliminary foray in Livy. It is on the main expedition (chap. xxviii.) that the patrician lands are spared (ii. 39). According to Dionysius (viii. 12), Tullus led one division into the territory of the Latins, Marcius the other into that of Rome, and both brought back enormous booty.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • M. W. MacCallum, Shakespeare's Roman Plays and their Background, 5.18
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 39
    • Plutarch, Caius Marcius Coriolanus, 28
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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