The consuls exhorted and comforted the senate, and said that the rest of the colonies would be loyal and dutiful as formerly; that even the colonies which had abandoned their duty would have respect for the empire, if legates should be sent about among them to upbraid, not to entreat.
Permission having been given the consuls by the senate to act and do as they thought to be for the interest of the state, after first sounding the temper of the other colonies, they summoned their legates, and asked them whether they had any soldiers in readiness according to the compact.1
On behalf of the eighteen colonies Marcus Sextilius, of Fregellae, replied that they had soldiers in readiness according to the compact, and would give more if more were needed, and would exert themselves to do whatever else the Roman people might command and desire. To that end, he said, they did not lack means and had even a surplus of [p. 247]
The consuls began by saying that to do the2
men justice it did
not seem enough that they should receive praise from the lips of the consuls only, without having the entire senate first return thanks to them in the Senate House; and then they bade them to follow into the senate.
After addressing them in a decree as complimentary as possible, the senate instructed the consuls to bring them before the people also, and along with the many other conspicuous services they had rendered to the senators themselves and their ancestors, to recount their recent service also to the state.
Even now, after so many generations, they shall not be passed over in silence or defrauded of their praise. It was the men of Signia and Norba and Saticula and Fregellae, and of Luceria and Venusia, and of Brundisium and Hadria and Firmum and Ariminum, and on the other sea, the men of Pontiae and Paestum and Cosa,3
and in the interior, the men of Beneventum and Aesernia and Spoletium, and of Placentia and Cremona.4
With the aid of these colonies at that time the empire of the Roman people stood fast,
and thanks were rendered to them in the senate and before the people.
Of the other twelve colonies, which refused to obey orders, the senators forbade any mention to be made; their legates should neither be dismissed nor detained nor spoken to by the consuls. That silent rebuke seemed most in keeping with the majesty of the Roman people.
While the consuls were endeavouring to provide everything else needed for the war, it was voted that the gold yielded by the five per cent tax on manumissions, and kept in the more sacred treasury to [p. 249]
meet extreme emergencies, should be brought out.5 6
About four thousand pounds of gold were brought
out. Of this five hundred pounds each were given to the consuls and to Marcus Marcellus and Publius Sulpicius, the proconsuls, and to Lucius Veturius, the praetor who had by lot received Gaul as his province. And for Fabius, the consul, there were added a hundred pounds of gold above the rest, to be conveyed to the citadel of
Tarentum. The remainder of the gold they employed in letting contracts7
in terms of ready money for clothing for the army which was carrying on the war in Spain, with distinction to itself and to its commander.