Cneius Cornelius Cossus and Lucius Furius Medullinus were elected consuls.
The commons were not on any other occasion more dissatisfied at the election of tribunes not being conceded to them. This sense of annoyance they both manifested at the nomination of quaestors, and avenged by then electing plebeians for the first time as quaestors; so that in electing four, room was left for only one patrician; whilst three plebeians, Quintus Silius, Publius Aelius, and Publius Pupius, were preferred to young men of the most illustrious families.
I learn that the principal advisers of the people, in this so independent a
bestowing of their suffrage, were the Icilii, three out of this family most hostile to the patricians having been elected tribunes of the commons for that year, by their holding out the grand prospect of many and great achievements to the people, who became consequently most ardent;
after they had affirmed that they would not stir a step, if the people would not, even at the election of quaestors, the only one which the senate had left open to the commons and patricians, evince sufficient spirit to accomplish that which they had so long wished for, and which was allowed by the laws.
This therefore the people considered an important victory; and that quaestorship they estimated not by the extent of the honour itself; but an access seemed opened to new men to the consulship and the honours of a triumph.
The patricians, on the other hand, expressed their indignation not so much at the honours of the state being shared, but at their being lost; they said that, “if matters be so, children need no longer be educated; who being driven from the station of their ancestors, and seeing others in the possession of their dignity, would be left without command or power, as mere salii and flamens, with no other employment than to offer sacrifices for the people.”
The minds of both parties being irritated, since the commons had both assumed new courage, and had now three leaders of the most distinguished reputation for the popular side; the patricians seeing that the result of all the elections would be similar to that for quaestors, [p. 313]
wherever the people had the choice from both sides, strove vigorously for the election of consuls, which was not yet open to them.
The Icilii, on the contrary, said that military tribunes should be elected, and that posts of honour should be at length imparted to the commons.