Citations:

Text #9638

Livius. "Ab urbe condita"
[Bk. 2 Ch. 34 ] http://www.the-romans.eu/books/Ab-urbe-co...

The new consuls were T. Geganius and P. Minucius. In this year, whilst all abroad was undisturbed by war and the civic dissensions at home were healed, the commonwealth was attacked by another much more serious evil: first, dearness of food, owing to the fields remaining uncultivated during the secession, and following on this a famine such as visits a besieged city. It would have led to the perishing of the slaves in any case, and probably the plebeians would have died, had not the consuls provided for the emergency by sending men in various directions to buy corn. They penetrated not only along the coast to the right of Ostia into Etruria, but also along the sea to the left past the Volscian country as far as Cumae. Their search extended even as far as Sicily; to such an extent did the hostility of their neighbours compel them to seek distant help. When corn had been bought at Cumae, the ships were detained by the tyrant Aristodemus, in lieu of the property of Tarquin, to whom he was heir. Amongst the Volscians and in the Pomptine district it was even impossible to purchase corn, the corn merchants were in danger of being attacked by the population. Some corn came from Etruria up the Tiber; this served for the support of the plebeians. They would have been harassed by a war, doubly unwelcome when provisions were so scarce, if the Volscians, who were already on the march, had not been attacked by a frightful pestilence. This disaster cowed the enemy so effectually that even when it had abated its violence they remained to some extent in a state of terror; the Romans increased the number of colonists at Velitrae and sent a new colony to Norba, up in the mountains, to serve as a stronghold in the Pomptine district.

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