THIS year will be remarkable for the consulship of a man of mean birth, remarkable for two new magistracies, the praetorship and curule aedileship. These honours the patricians claimed to themselves, in consideration of one consulship having been conceded to the plebeians.
The commons gave the consulship to Lucius Sextius, by whose law it had been obtained. The patricians by their popular influence obtained the praetorship for Spurius Furius Camillus, the son of Marcus, the aedileship for Cneius Quinctius Capitolinus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, men of their own rank. To Lucius Sextius, the patrician colleague assigned was Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus.
In the beginning of the year mention was made both of the Gauls, who, after having strayed about through Apulia, it was now rumoured were forming into a body; and also [p. 448]
concerning a revolt of the Hernicians.
When all business was purposely deferred, so that nothing should be transacted through means of the plebeian consul, silence was observed on all matters, and a state of inaction like to a justitium;
except that, the tribunes not suffering it to pass unnoticed that the nobility had arrogated to themselves three patrician magistracies as a compensation for one plebeian consul, sitting in curule chairs, clad in the praetexta like consuls;
the praetor, too, administering justice, and as if colleague to the consuls, and elected under the same auspices, the senate were in consequence made ashamed to order the curule aediles to be elected from among the patricians. It was at first agreed, that they should be elected from the commons every second year: afterwards the matter was left open.
Then, in the consulate of Lucius Genucius and Quintus Servilius, affairs being tranquil both at home and abroad, that they might at no period be exempt from fear and danger, a great pestilence arose.
They say that a praetor, a curule aedile, and three plebeian tribunes died of it, and that several other deaths took place in proportion among the populace; and that pestilence was made memorable chiefly by the death of Marcus Furius, which, though occurring at an advanced age, was still much lamented.
For he was a truly extraordinary man under every change of fortune; the first man in the state in peace and war, before he went into exile; still more illustrious in exile, whether by the regret felt for him by the state, which, when in captivity, implored his aid when absent; or by the success with which, when restored to his country, he restored that country along with himself.
For five and twenty years afterwards (for so many years afterwards did he live) he uniformly preserved his claims to such great glory, and was deemed deserving of their considering him, next after Romulus, a second founder of the city of Rome.