In the year following, when Numerius Fabius Vibulanus and Titus Quintius Capitolinus, son of Capitolinus, were consuls, nothing worth mentioning was performed under the conduct of Fabius, to whom that province had fallen by lot.
When the Aequans had merely showed their dastardly army, they were routed by a shameful flight, without any great honour to the consul; therefore a triumph is refused. However in consequence of having effaced the ignominy of Sempronius's defeat, he was allowed to enter the city with an ovation.
As the war was terminated with less difficulty than they had apprehended, so in the city, from a state of tranquillity, an unexpected mass of dissensions arose between the commons and patricians, which commenced with doubling the number of quaestors.
When the patricians approved most highly of this measure, (viz. that, besides the two city quaes- [p. 299]
tors, two should attend the consuls to discharge some duties of the military service,) after it was moved by the consuls, the tribunes of the commons contended in opposition to the consuls, that half of the quaestors should be appointed from the commons; for up to that time all patricians were appointed.
Against this proceeding both the consuls and patricians at first strove with all their might; then by making a concession that the will of the people should be equally free in the case of quaestors, as they enjoyed in the election of tribunes with consular power, when they produced but little effect, they gave up the entire matter about increasing the lumber of quaestors.
When relinquished, the tribunes take it up, and other seditious schemes are continually started, among which is that of the agrarian law. On account of these disturbances the senate was desirous that consuls should be elected rather than tribunes, but no decree of the senate could be passed in consequence of the protests of the tribunes;
the government from being consular came to an interregnum, and not even that without a great struggle (for the tribunes prevented the patricians from meeting). When the greater part
of the following year was wasted in contentions by the new tribunes of the commons and some interreges, the tribunes at one time hindering the patricians from assembling to declare an interrex, at another time preventing the interrex from passing a decree regarding the election of consuls;
at length Lucius Papirius Mugillanus, being nominated interrex, censuring now the patricians, now the tribunes of the people, asserted that the s ate, deserted and forsaken by man, being taken up by the providence and care of the gods, subsisted by the Veientian truce and the dilatoriness of the Aequans.
From which quarter if any alarm of danger be heard, did it please them that the state, left without a patrician magistrate, should be t ken by surprise? that there should be no army, nor general to enlist one?
Will they repel a foreign war by an intestine one? And if they both meet, the Roman state can scarcely be saved, even by the aid of the gods, from being overwhelmed.
That they, by resigning each a portion of their strict right, should establish concord by a compromise; the patricians, b suffering military tribunes with consular authority to be elected; the tribunes of the commons, by ceasing to protest against the [p. 300]
four quaestors being elected promiscuously from the commons and patricians by the free suffrage of the people."