Livius 3.37

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[37] The plebeians then fell to searching the countenances of the patricians, and would catch at the breath of freedom in that quarter where they had so feared enslavement as to have reduced the state to its present plight. 2 The leading senators hated the decemvirs and hated the plebs. They could not approve of the things that were being done; still they believed them to be not undeserved. 3 They had no desire to help those who in their greedy rush for liberty had fallen upon servitude, preferring that their wrongs should even be multiplied, that disgust at their actual situation might in the end arouse a longing for the two consuls and the former status of affairs. 4 And now the greater part of the year had passed, and the two tables of laws had been added to the ten of the year before; nor was there any further business to make the decemvirate necessary to the republic, so soon as those statutes too should have been enacted in the centuriate assembly. 5 People were anxiously looking forward to the time when the comitia for the election of consuls should be announced. The plebeians felt only one concern: how were they ever going to restore the tribunician power (their bulwark of liberty) which had been suspended? 6 Meanwhile there was no mention of an election. And the decemvirs, who had at first exhibited themselves to the plebs in the society of former tribunes, because this had 7 been thought a recommendation to the people, had now assumed a retinue of young patricians. Their bands blocked the tribunals. They bullied the plebs and plundered their possessions; for success attended the strong, no matter what they coveted. 8 And now they ceased even to respect a man's person; some they scourged with rods, others they made to feel the axe; and, that cruelty might not go unrequited, they bestowed the victim's property upon his slayer. Corrupted by these wages, the young nobles not only made no stand against wrong-doing, but frankly showed that they preferred licence for themselves to liberty for all.


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