In the city efforts were made by the tribunes of the people that military tribunes with consular power should be elected; nor could the point be carried. Lucius Papirius Crassus and Lucius Junius were made consuls. When the ambassadors of the Aequans solicited a treaty from the senate, and instead of a treaty a surrender was pointed out to them, they obtained a truce for eight years.
The affairs of the Volscians, in addition to the disaster sustained at Algidum, were involved in strifes and seditions by an obstinate contention between the advocates for peace and those for war.
The Romans enjoyed tranquillity on all sides. The consuls, having ascertained through the information of one of the college, that a law regarding the appraising of the fines,1
which was very acceptable to the
people, was about to be introduced by the tribunes, took the lead themselves in proposing it. The new consuls were Lucius Sergius Fidenas a second time, and Hostus Lucretius Tricipitinus. During their consulate nothing worth mentioning occurred. The consuls who followed them
were Aulus Cornelius Cossus and Titus Quintius Pennus a second time. The Veientians made excursions into the Roman territory. A report existed that some of the youth of the Fidenatians had been participators in that depredation; and the cognizance of that matter was left to Lucius Sergius,
and Quintus Servilius and Mamercus Aemilius. Some of them were sent into banishment to Ostia, because it did not appear sufficiently clear why during these days they had been absent from Fidenae. A number
of new settlers was added, and the land of those who had fallen in war was assigned to them. There was very great distress that year in consequence of drought; there was not only a deficiency of rain; but the earth also destitute of its natural moisture, scarcely enabled the rivers to flow. In some places the
want of water occasioned heaps of cattle, which had died of [p. 285]
thirst, around the springs and rivulets which were dried up; others were carried off by the mange; and the distempers spread by infection to the human subject, and first assailed the husbandmen and slaves; soon after
the city becomes filled with them; and not only were men's bodies afflicted by the contagion, but superstitions of various kinds, and most of them of foreign growth, took possession of their mind; persons, to whom minds
enslaved by superstition were source of gain, introducing by pretending to divination new modes of sacrificing; until a sense of public shame now reached the leading men of the state, seeing
in all the streets and chapels extraneous and unaccustomed ceremonies of expiation for the purpose of obtaining the favour of the gods. A charge was then given to the aediles, that they should see that no other than Roman gods should be worshipped, nor in any other manner,
save that of the country. Their resentment against the Veientians was deferred till the following year, Caius Servilius Ahala and Lucius Papirius Mugillanus being consuls. Then also superstitious influences prevented the immediate declaration of war or the armies being
sent; they deemed it necessary that heralds should be first set to demand restitution. There had been battles fought lately with the Veientians at Nomentum and Fidenae; and after that a truce, not a peace, had been concluded; of which both the time had expired and they had renewed hostilities before the expiration. Heralds however were sent; and when according to ancient usage, they were sworn and demanded restitution, their application was not
listened to. Then arose a dispute whether a war should be declared by order of the people, or whether a decree of the senate would be sufficient. The tribunes,
by threatening that they would stop the levy, so far prevailed that the consuls should take the sense of the people concerning the war. All the centuries voted for it. In this particular also the commons showed a superiority by gaining this point, that consuls should not be elected for the next year.