After this, other envoys came announcing that Tarquin abdicated his throne and ceased to wage war upon the city, but demanded for himself, his friends, and his kinsmen, their moneys and effects,1
wherewith to maintain themselves in exile. Many were inclined to grant this favour, and Collatinus in particular joined in advocating it, but Brutus, a man of harsh and unyielding temper ran forth into the forum and denounced his colleague as a traitor, because he would bestow the means for waging war and maintaining tyranny on men to whom it were a terrible mistake to vote even a bare subsistence in exile.
And when an assembly of the citizens was held, the first to speak among them was Caius Minucius, a private man, who exhorted Brutus and advised the Romans to see to it that the treasures fought with them against the tyrants, rather than with the tyrants against them. However, the Romans decided that, since they had the liberty for which they were at war, they would not sacrifice peace for the sake of wealth, but cast this also out along with the tyrants.2
Now the wealth, of course, was of very slight consequence to Tarquin, but the demand for it was at once a test of the people's disposition and a means of instigating treachery among them.
And it was with this that the envoys busied themselves, making the property merely a pretext for remaining in the city, and saying that they were selling part of it, and reserving part, and sending part of it away. At last they succeeded in corrupting two of the noble families of Rome, that of the Aquillii, which had three senators, and that of the Vitellii, which had two. All these, by the mother's side, were nephews of Collatinus the consul, and besides, the Vitellii were related in another manner to Brutus.
For Brutus had married a sister of theirs, and she had borne him several sons. Two of these, who had come to manhood, and were their near kindred and close companions, the Vitellii won over and persuaded to join the plot for betraying the city, to ally themselves with the great family and the royal expectations of the Tarquins, and rid themselves of the stupidity and cruelty of their father. For they gave the name of cruelty to that father's inexorable treatment of criminals, and as for his stupidity, he had for a long time, as it appears, feigned and assumed this, to insure his safety from the cruel designs of the tyrants, and afterwards the surname of Brutus, which had been given him for it, clung to him.