1. M. Furius
Camillus, was, according to Livy (5.1
), elected consular tribune for the first time in B. C. 403.
In this year Livy mentions eight consular tribunes, a number which does not occur any where else; and we know from Plutarch (Plut. Cam. 2
), that Camillus was invested with the censorship before he had held any other office. From these circumstances it has justly been inferred, that the censorship of Camillus and his colleague Postumius must be assigned to the year B. C. 403, and that Livy, in his list of the consular tribunes of that year, includes the two censors. (Comp. V. Max. 1.9.1
.) Therefore, what is commonly called the second, third, &c., consular tribunate of Camillus, must be regarded as the first, second, &c.
The first belongs to B. C. 401; and the only thing that is mentioned of him during this year is, that he marched into the country of the Faliscans, and, not meeting any enemy in the open field, ravaged the country. His second consular tribunate falls in the year B. C. 398, in the course of which he acquired great booty at Capena; and as the consular tribunes were obliged by a decree of the senate to lay down their office before the end of the year, Q. Servilius Fidenas and Camillus were successively appointed interreges.
In B. C. 396, when the Veientines, Faliscans, and Fidenates again revolted, Camillus was made dictator for the purpose of carrying on the war against them, and he appointed P. Cornelius Scipio his magister equitum.
After defeating the Faliscans and Fidenates, and taking their camp, he marched against Veii, and succeeded in reducing the town, in the tenth year of the war. Here he acquired immense booty, and had the statue of Juno Regina removed to Rome, where it was set up in a special temple on the Aventine, which was consecrated in B. C. 391, the year in which he celerated the great games he had vowed. On his return from Veii, he entered Rome in triumph, riding in a chariot drawn by white horses. In B. C. 394 he was elected consular tribune for the third time, and reduced the Faliscans.
The story of the schoolmaster who attempted to betray the town of Falerii to Camillus, belongs to this campaign. Camillus had him chained and sent back to his fellow-citizens, who were so much affected by the justice of the Roman general, that they surrendered to the Romans. (Liv. 5.27
; comp. V. Max. 6.5.1
, who calls Camillus consul on this occasion, although, according to the express testimony of Plutarch, he was never invested with the consulship.)
In B. C. 391, Camillus was chosen interrex to take the auspices, as the other magistrates were attacked by an epidemic then raging at Rome, by which he also lost a son.
In this year he was accused by the tribune of the plebs, L. Appuleius, with having made an unfair distribution of the booty of Veii; and, seeing that his condemnation was unavoidable, he went into exile, praying to the gods that, if he was wronged, his ungrateful country might soon be in a condition to stand in need of him. During his absence he was condemned to pay a fine of 15,000 heavy asses.
The time for which he had prayed soon came; for the Gauls advanced through Etruria towards Rome, and the city, with the exception of the capitol, was taken by the barbarians, and reduced to ashes.
In this distress, Camillus, who was living in exile at Ardea, was recalled by a lex curiata, and while yet absent was appointed dictator a second time, B. C. 390.
He made L. Valerius Potitus his magister equitum, assembled the scattered Roman forces, consisting partly of fugitives and partly of those who had survived the day on the Allia, and marched towards Rome. Here he took the Gauls by surprise, and defeated them completely.
He then entered the city in triumph, saluted by his fellowcitizens as alter Romulus, pater patriae, and conditor alter urbis. His first care was to have the temples restored, and then to rebuild the city.
The people, who were at first inclined to quit their destroyed homes and emigrate to Veii, were prevailed upon to give up this plan, and then Camillus laid down his dictatorship.
In B. C. 389 Camillus was made interrex a second time for the purpose of electing the consular tribunes; and, as in the same year the neighbouring tribes rose against Rome, hoping to conquer the weakened city without any difficulty, Camillus was again appointed dictator, and he made C. Servilius Ahala his magister equitum.
He first defeated the Volscians, and took their camp; and they were now compelled to submit to Rome after a contest of seventy years. The Aequians were also conquered near Bola, and their capital was taken in the first attack. Sutrium, which had been occupied by Etruscans, fell in like manner.
After the conquest of these three nations, Camillus returned to Rome in triumph.
In B. C. 386 Camillus was elected consular tribune for the fourth time, and, after having declined the dictatorship which was offered him, he defeated the Antiates and Etruscans. In B. C. 384 he was consular tribune for the fifth, and in 381 for the sixth time.
In the latter year he conquered the revolted Volscians and the Praenestines. During the war against the Volscians L. Furius Medullinus was appointed as his colleague.
The latter disapproved of the cautious slowness of Camillus, and, without his consent, he led his troops against the enemy, who by a feigned flight drew him into a perilous situation and put him to flight. But Camillus now appeared, compelled the fugitives to stand, led them back to battle, and gained a complete victory. Hereupon Camillus received orders to make war upon the Tusculans for having assisted the Volscians; and, notwithstanding the former conduct of Medullinus, Camillus again chose him as his colleague, to afford him an opportunity of wiping off his disgrace.
This generosity and moderation deserved and excited general admiration.
In B. C. 368, when the patricians were resolved to make a last effort against the rogations of C. Licinius Stolo, the senate appointed Camillus, a faithful supporter of the patricians, dictator for the fourth time. His magister equitum was L. Aemilius Mamercinus. But Camillus, who probably saw that it was hopeless to resist any further the demands of the plebeians, resigned the office soon after, and P. Manlius was appointed in his stead.
In the following year, B. C. 367, when a fresh war with the Gauls broke out, Camillus, who was now nearly eighty years old, was called to the dictatorship for the fifth time. His magister equitum was T. Quinctius Pennus.
He gained a great victory, for which he was rewarded with a triumph. Two years later, B. C. 365, he died of the plague. Camillus is the great hero of his time, and stands forth as a resolute champion of his own order until he became convinced that further opposition was of no avail. His history, as related in Plutarch and Livy, is not without a considerable admixture of legendary and traditional fable, and requires a careful critical sifting. (Plut. Life of Camillus; Liv. 5.10
, &c., 31, 32, 46, 49-55, 6.1-4, 6, &c., 18, &c., 22, &c., 38, 42, 7.1; Diod. 14.93
; Eutrop. 1.20
; V. Max. 4.1.2
; Gellius, 17.21
; Cic. pro Dom.
32, de Re Publ.
p. 462; Ascon. pro Scaur.
p. 30, ed. Orelli.)