Zonaras 7.13 Part I: Publicola Earns His Name; Quaestorship is Established

Publius Valerius recovers public favor by destroying his house:

Thus did the deeds of the Tarquinii come to an end. When they had been expelled from the kingship, as has already been noted, the consuls were selected by the Romans. Of these, one was Publius Valerius, who served as consul four times and earned the name Publicola. Because he ruled alone and did not take a co-consul he came in conflict with the Romans, who said that there was no inheritor of Brutus’ consulship but a successor to the tyranny of Tarquinius, who in similar fashion departed under the guardianship of rods and axes from a a house of tremendous size and beauty. (For he had a rather fine house built right next to the Forum.) When Publicola learned of this, he brought several builders together at night and them demolish his house and raze it to the ground. The next day, when the Romans awoke and saw this, they marveled at the wonderful judgment of Publicola, yet felt some grief for the house which had been so large and beautiful. Publicola also had the axes removed from the fasces, and as he went to the Senate, he had the rods themselves pointed down before the people. He also assigned the administration of the public wealth to others, lest the consuls, being in charge of it, gain too much power. This is when the office of the treasurers was formed, which they called ‘quaestors.’ These men initially presided over murder trials, from which they received this title on account of their examinations and on account of the search for the truth from these examinations. Later, they assumed the job of distributing the public funds, and were called ‘quaestors.’ After this period, the functions of the law courts were assigned to other magistrates, but these men were still in charge of distributing funds. Publicola then received the co-consul Lucretius, father of Lucretia. When he died suddenly, Marcus Horatius was selected to rule with Publicola for the rest of the year. Afterward, when Publicola was selected as consul again, his co-consul was Titus Lucretius.

Οὕτω μὲν οὖν τοῖς Ταρκυνίοις τὰ πράγματα ἐπεράνθησαν· ἐκείνων δ’ ἐξωσθέντων τῆς βασιλείας ὕπατοι, ὡς εἴρηται, παρὰ τῶν ῾Ρωμαίων ᾑρέθησαν. ὧν εἷς ἦν καὶ Πόπλιος Οὐαλέριος, ὃς τετράκις ὑπάτευσεν, ὁ καὶ Ποπλικόλας ἐπικληθείς. οὗτος οὖν μόνος ἄρχων καὶ μὴ συνάρχοντα εἰληφὼς ῾Ρωμαίοις προσέκρουσε, λέγουσι μὴ τῆς τοῦ Βρούτου κληρονόμον ὑπατείας εἶναι, τῆς δὲ τοῦ Ταρκυνίου τυραννίδος διάδοχον, ὑπὸ ῥάβδοις ὁμοῦ πάσαις καὶ πελέκεσι προϊόντα ἐξ οἰκίας τοσαύτης τὸ μέγεθος καὶ τὸ κάλλος. καὶ γὰρ πολυτελεστέραν εἶχεν οἰκίαν ἐπικειμένην τῇ ἀγορᾷ. ταῦτα ὁ Ποπλικόλας μαθών, τεχνίτας πλείστους συναγαγὼν νυκτὸς κατέβαλε τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ταύτην κατέσκαψεν, ὥστε μεθ’ ἡμέραν τοὺς ῾Ρωμαίους βλέποντας τὸ γενόμενον τὴν μὲν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς μεγαλοφροσύνην θαυμάζειν, ἄχθεσθαι δ’ ὑπὲρ τῆς οἰκίας διὰ τὸ μέγεθος καὶ τὸ κάλλος. καὶ τοὺς πελέκεις δὲ τῶν ῥάβδων ἀπέλυσεν, αὐτάς τε τὰς ῥάβδους εἰς ἐκκλησίαν παριὼν ἀφῆκε τῷ δήμῳ. καὶ τὴν τῶν χρημάτων διοίκησιν ἄλλοις ἀπένειμεν, ἵνα μὴ τούτων ἐγκρατεῖς ὄντες οἱ ὑπατεύοντες μέγα δύνωνται. ὅτε πρῶτον οἱ ταμίαι ἤρξαντο γίνεσθαι· κοιαίστωρας δ’ ἐκάλουν αὐτούς. οἳ πρῶτον μὲν τὰς θανασίμους δίκας ἐδίκαζον, ὅθεν καὶ τὴν προσηγορίαν ταύτην διὰ τὰς ἀνακρίσεις ἐσχήκασι καὶ διὰ τὴν τῆς ἀληθείας ἐκ τῶν ἀνακρίσεων ζήτησιν· ὕστερον δὲ καὶ τὴν τῶν κοινῶν χρημάτων διοίκησιν ἔλαχον, καὶ ταμίαι προσωνομάσθησαν. μετὰ ταῦτα δ’ ἑτέροις μὲν ἐπετράπη τὰ δικαστήρια, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ τῶν χρημάτων ἦσαν διοικηταί. ἀπέδειξε δὲ ἑαυτῷ συνάρχοντα τὸν τῆς Λουκρητίας πατέρα Λουκρήτιον. ταχὺ δὲ τούτου θανόντος ᾑρέθη Μάρκος ῾Οράτιος συνάρχειν αὐτῷ τὸν ὑπόλοιπον καιρὸν τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ. αἱρεθεὶς δὲ καὶ αὖθις ὕπατος ὁ Ποπλικόλας ἔσχε συνυπατεύοντα Τίτον Λουκρήτιον.

Leave a Reply