Lucretius returned with immense spoil, and much greater glory; and this glory he increased on his arrival, by exposing all the booty in the Campus Martius, so that each person might, during three days, recognise his own and carry it away; the remainder was sold, for which no owners appeared.
A triumph was by universal consent due to the consul: but the matter was deferred, the tribune still pressing his law; this to the consul seemed of greater importance.
The business was discussed for several days, both in the senate and before the people: at length the tribune yielded to the majesty of the consul, and desisted; then the due honour was rendered to the general and his army.
He triumphed over the Volscians and Aequans: his troops followed him in his triumph. The other consul was allowed to enter the city in ovation without his soldiers. On the following year the Terentillian law having been taken up by the entire college, assailed the new consuls; the consuls were Publius Volumnius and Servius Sulpicius.
On that year the sky seemed to be on fire; a violent earthquake also occurred;
it was now believed that an ox spoke, which circumstance had not obtained credit on the year before; among other prodigies it rained flesh also;1
which shower a great number of birds is reported to have carried off by flying so as to intercept it; that which did fall, is said to have lain scattered about for several [p. 171]
days, so that its smell evinced no change. The books2
were consulted by the duumviri for sacred rites: dangers of attacks being made on the highest parts of the city, and of bloodshed thence resulting, were predicted as about to come from an assemblage of strangers; among
other things, an admonition was given that all intestine disturbances should be abandoned. The tribunes alleged that that
was done to obstruct the law, and a desperate contest was at hand. Lo! (that the same circle of events may revolve every year) the Hernicians bring word that the Volscians and the Aequans, though their strength was much impaired, were recruiting their armies: that their chief dependence was Antium; that the inhabitants of Antium openly held councils at Ecetra: that that was the source —there the strength —for the war. As soon as this announcement was made in the senate, a levy was ordered: the consuls were commanded to divide the management of the war between them; that the Volscians
should be the province of the one, the Aequans that of the other. The tribunes cried out to their faces in the forum, “That the Volscian war was
all a concerted farce: that the Hernicians were instructed to act their parts; that the liberty of the Roman people was now no longer crushed by manly efforts, but that it was baffled by cunning; because all probability was now gone that the Volscians, who were almost exterminated,
and the Aequans, would of themselves commence hostilities, new enemies were sought for: that a loyal colony, and one in their very vicinity, was being rendered infamous: that war was proclaimed against the unoffending people of Antium, and in reality waged with the commons of Rome, which after loading them with arms they were determined to drive out of the city with precipitous haste, wreaking
their vengeance on the tribunes, by the exile and expulsion of their fellow-citizens. That by these means, and let them
not think that there was any other object contemplated, the law was defeated; unless, whilst the matter was still in abeyance, whilst they were still at home and in the garb of citizens, hey would take precaution that they may not be
driven out of possession of the city, and be subjected to the yoke. If they only had spirit, that support would not be wanting; that all the tribunes were unanimous; that there was no apprehension from abroad, no danger. That the gods had taken care, on the pre- [p. 172]
ceding year, that their liberty could now be defended with safety.” Thus far the tribunes.