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Coriolanus   


in the world under that mild and plausible name of a colony, and were
simply precipitating so many poor citizens into a mere pit of destruction,
bidding them settle down in a country where the air was charged with
disease, and the ground covered with dead bodies, and expose themselves
to the evil influence of a strange and angered deity. And then, as
if it would not satisfy their hatred to destroy some by hunger, and
offer others to the mercy of a plague, they must proceed to involve
them also in a needless war of their own making, that no calamity
might be wanting to complete the punishment of the citizens for refusing
to submit to that of slavery to the rich.
By such addresses, the people were so possessed, that none of them
would appear upon the consular summons to be enlisted for the war;
and they showed entire aversion to the proposal for a new plantation;
so that the senate was at a loss what to say or do. But Marcius, who
began now to bear himself higher and to feel confidence in his past
actions, conscious, too, of the admiration of the best and greatest
men of Rome, openly took the lead in opposing the favourers of the
people. The colony was despatched to Velitrae, those that were chosen
by lot being compelled to depart upon high penalties; and when they
obstinately persisted in refusing to enrol themselves for the Volscian
service, he mustered up his own clients, and as many others as could
be wrought upon by persuasion, and with these made inroad into the
territories of the Antiates, where, finding a considerable quantity
of corn, and collecting much booty, both of cattle and prisoners,
he reserved nothing for himself in private, but returned safe to Rome,
while those that ventured out with him were seen laden with pillage,
and driving their prey before them. This sight filled those that had
stayed at home with regret for their perverseness, with envy at their
fortunate fellow-citizens, and with feelings of dislike to Marcius,
and hostility to his growing reputation and power, which might probably
be used against the popular interest.
Not long after he stood for the consulship: when, however, the people
began to relent and incline to favour him, being sensible what a shame
it would be to repulse and affront a man of his birth and merit, after
he had done them so many signal services. It was usual for those who
stood for offices among them to solicit and address themselves personally
to the citizens, presenting themselves in the forum with the toga
on alone, and no tunic under it; either to promote their supplications
by the humility of their dress, or that such as had received wounds
might more readily display those marks of their fortitude. Certainly,
it was not out of suspicion of bribery and corruption that they required
all such petitioners for their favour to appear ungirt and open, without
any close garment; as it was much later, and many ages after this,
that buying and selling crept in at their elections, and money became
an ingredient in the public suffrages; proceeding thence to attempt
their tribunals, and even attack their camps, till, by hiring the
valiant, and enslaving iron to silver, it grew master of the state,
and turned their commonwealth into a monarchy. For it was well and
truly said that the first destroyer of the liberties of a people is
he who first gave them bounties and largesses. At Rome the mischief
seems to have stolen secretly in, and by little and little, not being
at once discerned and taken notice of. It is not certainly known who
the man was that did there first either bribe the citizens, or corrupt
the courts; whereas, in Athens, Anytus, the son of Anthemion, is said
to have been the first that gave money to the judges, when on his
trial, toward the latter end of the Peloponnesian war, for letting
the fort of Pylos fall into the hands of the enemy; in a period while
the pure and golden race of men were still in possession of the Roman
forum.
Marcius, therefore, as the fashion of candidates was, showing the
scars and gashes that were still visible on his body, from the many
conflicts in which he had signalized himself during a service of seventeen
years together, they were, so to say, put out of countenance at this
display of merit, and told one another that they ought in common modesty

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