“An unjust sentence of condemnation, and a miserable and undeserved banishment, formerly induced Coriolanus to go and fight against his country; he was restrained, however, by private duty from public parricide. What grief, what resentment instigated you?
Was the delay of your pay for a few days, during the illness of your general, a reason of sufficient weight for you to declare war against your country? to revolt from the Roman people and join the Ilergetians? to [p. 1202]
leave no obligation, divine or human, unviolated? Without doubt, soldiers, you were mad; nor was the disease which seized my frame more violent than that with which your minds were affected.
I shrink with horror from the relation of what men believed, what they hoped and wished.
Let oblivion cover all these things if possible; if not, however it be, let them be covered in silence. I must confess my speech must have appeared to you severe and harsh, but how much more harsh, think you, must your actions be than my words!
Do you think it reasonable that I should suffer all the acts which you have committed, and that you should not bear with patience even to hear them mentioned? But you shall not be reproached even with these things any further. I could wish that you might as easily forget them as I shall.
Therefore, as far as relates to the general body of you, if you repent of the error you have committed, I shall have received sufficient and more than sufficient atonement for it.
Albius the Calenian, and Atrius the Umbrian, with the rest of the principal movers of this impious mutiny, shall expiate with their blood the crime they have perpetrated.
To yourselves, if you have returned to a sound state of mind, the sight of their punishment ought not only to be not unpleasant, but even gratifying; for there are no persons to whom the measures they have taken are more hostile and injurious than to you.”
He had scarcely finished speaking, when, according to the plan preconcerted, every object of terror was at once presented to their eyes and ears.
The troops, which had formed a circle round the assembly, clashed their swords against their shields; the herald's voice was heard citing by name the persons who had been condemned in the council; the culprits were dragged naked into the midst of the assembly, and at the same time all the apparatus for punishment was brought forth.
They were tied to the stake, scourged with rods, and decapitated; while those who were present were so benumbed with fear, that not only no expression of dissatisfaction at the severity of the punishment, but not even a groan was heard.
They were then all dragged out, the place was cleared, and the men cited by name took the oath of allegiance to Scipio before the military tribunes, each receiving his full demand of pay as he answered to his name. Such was the termination and result which the [p. 1203]
insurrection of the soldiers, which began at Sucro, met with.