MARCUS Genucius and Caius Curtius followed these as consuls. The year was disturbed both at home and abroad. For at the commencement of the year Caius Canuleius, tribune of the people, proposed a law concerning the intermarriage of the patricians and commons;
by which the patricians considered that their blood would be contaminated, and the privileges of birth would be confounded; and a hint at first lightly suggested by the tribunes, that it should be lawful that one of the consuls should be elected from the commons, afterwards proceeded so far, that the nine tribunes proposed a bill, "that the people should have the power of electing the consuls, whether they wished, from the commons or the patricians.
But they thought that if that were done, the supreme authority would not only be shared with the lowest ranks, but be wholly transferred from the nobility to the commons.
With joy therefore the patricians heard that the people of Ardea had revolted in consequence of the injustice of the taking away their land, and that the Veientians had laid [p. 250]
waste the frontiers of the Roman territory, and that the Volscians and Aequans murmured on account of the fortifying of Verrugo; so much did they prefer an unsuccessful war to an ignominious peace.
These tidings therefore being received and with exaggerations, in order that during the din of so many wars the tribunitian proceedings might be suspended, they order the levies to be held, preparations to be made for war and arms with the utmost activity; with more energy, if possible, than had been used in the consulship of Titus Quintius.
Then Caius Canuleius declared aloud in brief terms in the senate, that “the consuls wished in vain to divert the commons from attention to the new laws; that they never should hold a levee while he lived, before the commons had first ratified the laws proposed by him and his colleagues;” and he instantly summoned them to an assembly.