since both consuls had Apulia as their province, and there was now less alarm from the Carthaginians and Hannibal, they were ordered to cast lots for Apulia and Macedonia as their provinces. Macedonia fell to Sulpicius, and he succeeded Laevinus.
Fulvius was summoned to Rome for the election, and while he was conducting the election for the choice of consuls, the century of the younger men of the Voturia tribe, having the right to vote first,1
declared in favour of Titus Manlius Torquatus and Titus Otacilius as consuls, the latter being absent.
when a crowd gathered before Manlius, who was present, in order to congratulate him, and the approval of the people was unquestioned, surrounded by a great crowd he came to
the tribunal of the consul, begged him to hear a few words from him, and bade him recall the century which had cast its vote.
while all were in suspense, waiting to know what he was going to demand, he gave the condition of his eyes as an excuse.
shameless, he said, was a pilot and a general too, who, though he must use other men's eyes for everything he did, demanded that the lives and fortunes of others be entrusted to him.
therefore, if Fulvius approved, let him order the Voturia century of the younger men to vote again, and in electing consuls to remember the war that was in Italy and the critical times for the state.
their ears had hardly yet had a respite from the noise and uproar of the enemy when [p. 87]
the city of Rome had been all but ablaze a few2
months before. after these words the whole century cried out that they refused to make any change in opinion, and would vote for the same men as consuls.
thereupon Torquatus said: “neither shall I as consul be able to put up with your manners, nor will you with my authority. vote again, and reflect that a Punic war is in Italy and the commander of the enemy Hannibal.”
then the century, moved by the prestige of the man and the expressions of admiration on all sides, begged the consul to summon the Voturia century of the older men.3
they wished, they said, to confer with their elders and on their authority to name consuls.
when the older men of the Voturia had been summoned, time for a secret conference with them was granted in the Sheepfold.4
the elders said that they must deliberate in regard to three men, two of them already full of honours, Quintus Fabius and Marcus Marcellus, and if they were quite decided to elect some new man as consul to face the Carthaginians, Marcus Valerius Laevinus; that he had carried on the war brilliantly against King Philip on land and sea. so after deliberation in regard to the three men had been allowed, the elders were sent away, and the younger men cast their vote.
they voted for Marcus Claudius, at that time resplendent in the light of his conquest of Sicily, and Marcus Valerius as consuls, both being absent. the authority of the leading century was followed by all the rest. let men now make sport of those who admire what is old.5
for my part, if there should be a city —state of sages, such as philosophers imagine rather than [p. 89]
actually know, I am inclined to think that neither6
could leading men possibly be of more solid worth and more self —controlled as regards the lust for power, nor could the populace show a higher character.
but that a century of the younger men wished to confer with their elders on the question to which persons they should, by their vote, entrust a high command, should seem to us scarcely credible —this is due to the cheapened and diminished authority even of parents over their children in our day.