Virginius, on the other hand, affirmed that Appius [p. 229]
Claudius was the only person not entitled to a participation in the laws, nor in civil or human society.
That men should look to the tribunal, the fortress of all villanies; where that perpetual decemvir, venting his fury on the properties, backs, and blood of the citizens, threatening all with his rods and axes, a despiser of gods and men, attended
with executioners, not lictors, changing his mind from rapine and murder to lust, before the eyes of the Roman people, tore a free-born maiden, as if a prisoner of war, from the embraces of her father, and gave her as a present to a dependant, the pander to his secret pleasures.
Where by a cruel decree, and by a most villainous decision, he armed the right hand of the father against the daughter: where he ordered the spouse and uncle, on their raising the lifeless body of the girl, to be taken off to a prison; moved more at the interruption to his sensual gratification than at her untimely death. That the prison was built for him also, which he used to call the domicile of the Roman commons.
Wherefore, though he may appeal again and oftener, he would as frequently refer him to a judge, on the charge of having sentenced a free person to slavery; if he would not go before a judge, that he ordered him to be taken to prison as one condemned.
He was thrown into prison, and though without the disapprobation of any individual, yet not without considerable emotions of the public mind, when, in consequence of the punishment of so distinguished a man, their own liberty began to appear to the commons themselves as excessive. The tribune deferred the day of trial.
Whilst these matters are going on, ambassadors from the Hernicians and Latins came to Rome to present their congratulations on the harmony subsisting between the patricians and commons; and as an offering on that account to Jupiter, the best and greatest, they brought into the Capitol a golden crown, of small weight, as riches at that time did not abound, and the duties of religion were performed rather with piety than magnificence.
From the same source it was ascertained that the Aequans and Volscians were preparing for war with the utmost energy.
The consuls were therefore ordered to divide the provinces between them. The Sabines fell to the lot of Horatius, the Aequans and Volscians to that of Valerius. On their proclaiming a levy for these wars, through the good wishes of the commons, not only the younger men, but of those who [p. 230]
had served out their time, a considerable portion as volunteers, attended to give in their names: and hence the army was stronger not only by the number, but also by the kind of soldiers, veterans being mixed with them.
Before they marched out of the city, they engraved on brass, and fixed up in public view, the decemviral laws, which have received the name of “the twelve tables.” There are some who state that the aediles discharged that office by order of the tribunes.