2. C. Servilius
Structus Ahala, magister equitum B. C. 439, when L. Cincinnatus was appointed dictator on the pretence that Sp. Maelius was plotting against the state.
In the night, in which the dictator was appointed, the capitol and all the strong posts were garrisoned by the partizans of the patricians.
In the morning, when the people assembled in the forum, and Sp. Maelius among them, Ahala summoned the latter to appear before the dictator; and upon Maelius disobeying and taking refuge in the crowd, Ahala rushed into the throng and killed him. (Liv. 4.13
; Zonaras, 7.20
; Dionys. Exc.
Mai, i. p. 3.)
This act is mentioned by later writers as an example of ancient heroism, and is frequently referred to by Cicero in terms of the highest admiration (in Catil.
i l, pro Mil.
16); but it was in reality a case of murder, and was so regarded at the time. Ahala was brought to trial, and only escaped condemnation by a voluntary exile. (V. Max. 5.3.2
; Cic. de Rep.
1.3, pro Dom.
32.) Livy passes over this, and only mentions (4.21), that a bill was brought in three years afterwards, B. C. 436, by another Sp. Maelius, a tribune, for confiscating the property of Ahala, but that it failed.
A representation of Ahala is given on a coin of M. Brutus, the murderer of Caesar, but we cannot suppose it to be anything more than an imaginary likeness. M. Brutus pretended that he was descended from L. Brutus, the first consul, on his father's side, and from C. Ahala on his mother's, and thus was sprung from two tyrannicides. (Comp. Cic. Att. 13.40
The head of Brutus on the annexed coin is therefore intended to represent the first consul.