and so the consuls of the following year,1
Gaius Junius Bubulcus (for the third time) and Quintus Aemilius Barbula (for the second), complained to the people, at the outset of their administration, that the senatorial order had been depraved by the improper choice of members, in which better men had been passed over than some that had been appointed.
they then gave notice that they should ignore that list, which had been drawn up with no distinction of right and wrong, in a spirit of favouritism and caprice; and proceeded to call the roll of the senate in the order which had been in use before Appius Claudius and Gaius Plautius were censors.
in that year, also, two commands —both military —began to be conferred by the people; for it was enacted, first, that sixteen tribunes of the soldiers should be chosen by popular vote for the four legions, whereas previously these places had been for the most part in the gift of dictators and consuls, very few being left to popular suffrage2
; secondly, that the people should likewise elect two naval commissioners to have charge of equipping and refitting the fleet.
The former of [p. 279]
these measures was proposed by the tribunes of the3
plebs Lucius Atilius and Gaius Marcius; the latter by Marcus Decius, another tribune of the plebs.
i should omit, as an incident hardly worth narrating, a little thing that happened in that same year, but that it seemed to concern religion. The flute —players, angry at having been forbidden by the last censors to hold their feast, according to old custom, in the temple of Jupiter, went off to Tibur in a body, so that there was no one in the City to pipe at sacrifices.
troubled by the religious aspect of the case, the senate dispatched representatives to the Tiburtines, requesting them to use their best endeavours to restore these men to Rome.
The Tiburtines courteously undertook to do so; and sending for the pipers to their senate —house, urged them to return. when they found it impossible to persuade them, they employed a ruse, not ill —adapted to the nature of the men.
on a holiday various citizens invited parties of the pipers to their houses, on the pretext of celebrating the feast with music. there they plied them with wine, which people of that profession are generally greedy of, until they got them stupefied.
in this condition they threw them, fast asleep, into waggons and carried them away to Rome; nor did the pipers perceive what had taken place until daylight found them —still suffering from the debauch —in the waggons, which had been left standing in the Forum.
The people then flocked about them and prevailed with them to remain. they were permitted on three days in every year to roam the City in festal robes, making music and enjoying the licence that is now customary, and to such [p. 281]
as should play at sacrifices was given again the4
privilege of banqueting in the temple.5
These incidents occurred while men were preoccupied with two mighty wars.