Young Folks' History of Rome eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about Young Folks' History of Rome.

[Illustration:  ENTRY OF THE FORUM ROMANUM BY THE VIA SACRA]

CHAPTER XIII.

THE PLEBEIAN CONSULATE.

B.C. 367.

All the old enemies of Rome attacked her again when she was weak and rising out of her ruins, but Camillus had wisely persuaded the Romans to add the people of Veii, Capena, and Falerii to the number of their citizens, making four more tribes; and this addition to their numbers helped them beat off their foes.

But this enlarged the number of the plebeians, and enabled them to make their claims more heard.  Moreover, the old quarrel between poor and rich, debtor and creditor, broke out again.  Those who had saved their treasure in the time of the sack had made loans to those who had lost to enable them to build their houses and stock their farms again, and after a time they called loudly for payment, and when it was not forthcoming had the debtors seized to be sold as slaves.  Camillus himself was one of the hardest creditors of all, and the barracks where slaves were placed to be sold were full of citizens.

[Illustration:  COSTUMES.]

Marcus Manlius Capitolinus was full of pity, and raised money to redeem four hundred of them, trying with all his might to get the law changed and to save the rest; but the rich men and the patricians thought he acted only out of jealousy of Camillus, and to get up a party for himself.  They said he was raising a sedition, and Publius Cornelius Cossus was named Dictator to put it down.  Manlius was seized and put into chains, but released again.  At last the rich men bought over two of the tribunes to accuse him of wanting to make himself a king, and this hated title turned all the people against their friend, so that the general cry sentenced him to be cast down from the top of the Tarpeian rock; his house on the Capitol was overthrown, and his family declared that no son of their house should ever again bear the name of Manlius.

[Illustration:  COSTUME.]

Yet the plebeians were making their way, and at last succeeded in gaining the plebeian magistracies and equal honors with the patricians.  A curious story is told of the cause of the last effort which gained the day.  A patrician named Fabius Ambustus had two daughters, one of whom he gave in marriage to Servius Sulpicius, a patrician and military tribune, the other to Licinius Stolo.  One day, when Stolo’s wife was visiting her sister, there was a great noise and thundering at the gates which frightened her, until the other Fabii said it was only her husband coming home from the Forum attended by his lictors and clients, laughing at her ignorance and alarm, until a whole troop of the clients came in to pay their court to the tribune’s wife.

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Young Folks' History of Rome from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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