The matter began to disclose itself more clearly to the patricians and the consuls; besides those things, however, which were openly declared, they dreaded lest this might be a scheme of the Veientes or Sabines;
and, as there were so [p. 178]
many of the enemy in the city, lest the Sabine and Etrurian troops might come on according to a concerted plan; and then lest their eternal enemies, the Volscians and Aequi, should come, not to ravage their territories, as before, but to their very city, already in part taken.
Many and various were their fears; among others, the most prominent was their dread of the slaves, lest each might harbour an enemy in his own house, one whom it was neither sufficiently safe to trust, nor to deny1
confidence to him lest, by not trusting him, he might become more
incensed. And (the evil) seemed scarcely capable of being resisted by perfect harmony (between the different orders of the state); only no one apprehended the tribunes or commons, other evils predominating and constantly starting up; that appeared an evil of a mild nature, and one always arising during the cessation of other evils, and it then appeared to be lulled to rest by external
terror. Yet that was almost the only one that most aggravated their distressing circumstances: for such madness took possession of the tribunes, that they contended that not war, but the empty appearance of war had taken possession of the Capitol, to avert the people's minds from attending to the law; that these friends and clients of the patricians would depart in greater silence than they came, if they once perceived that, by the law being passed, they had raised these tumults in
vain. They then held a meeting for passing the law, having called away the people from their arms. In the mean time, the consuls convene the senate, another dread presenting itself on the part of the tribunes, greater than that which the nightly foe had occasioned.