The commons elected as tribunes of the people, though absent, Sextus Tempanius, Aulus Sellius, Sextus Antistius, and Spurius Icilius, whom the horsemen by the advice of Tempanius had appointed to command them as centurions.
The senate, inasmuch as the name of consuls was now becoming displeasing through the hatred felt towards Sempronius, ordered that military tribunes with consular power should be elected. Those elected were Lucius Manlius Capitolinus, Quintus Antonius Merenda, Lucius Papirius Mugillanus.
At the very commencement of the year, Lucius Hortensius, a tribune of the people, appointed a day of trial for Caius Sempronius, a consul of the preceding year, and when his four colleagues, in sight of the Roman people, entreated him that he would not involve in vexation their unoffending general, in whose case [p. 298]
nothing but fortune could be blamed, Hortensius took offence, thinking it to be a trying of his perseverance, and
that the accused depended not on the entreaties of the tribunes, which were merely used for show, but on their protection.
Therefore now turning to him, he asked, “Where were those patrician airs, where the spirit supported and confiding in conscious innocence; that a man of consular dignity took shelter under the shade of the tribunes?”
Another time to his colleagues, “What do you intend doing, if I go on with the prosecution; will you wrest their jurisdiction from the people and overturn the tribunitian authority?”
When they said that, both with respect to Sempronius and all others, the power of the Roman people was supreme; that they had neither the will nor the power to do away with the judgment of the people; but if their entreaties for their commander, who was to them in the light of a parent, were to prove of no avail, that they would change their apparel along with him:"
then Hortensius says, “The commons of Rome shall not see their tribunes in the garb of culprits. To Caius Sempronius I have nothing more to say, since when in office he has attained this good fortune, to be so dear to his soldiers.”
Nor was the dutiful attachment of the four tribunes more grateful alike to the commons and patricians, than was the temper of Hortensius, which yielded so readily to their just entreaties.
Fortune no longer indulged the Aequans, who had embraced the doubtful victory of the Volscians as their own.