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ment was about to be tried, which could best afford to lose the other, the rulers or the ruled, the officers or the soldiers. That would never do. The plebeians must be brought back, on any terms, rather than be allowed to prove that they could govern themselves. It is to be lamented that we have almost no account of the negotiations that ensued. The terms demanded must have been high, — nothing less than the entire remodelling of the laws of debt, and the overthrow of the system of occupying the land, could satisfy desperate men, fully aware that these were the causes of their sufferings. But the power and prestige of the Senate, the magic name of Rome, the specious rhetoric of Menenius, and the honest promises of Valerius, prevailed. A compromise was made; tribunes were given them, inviolable in person, and with powers to protect against injustice and punish wrong-doers; and the people returned to the city, exulting, no doubt, in the victory — trifling as it was — which they had won, glad perhaps not to be exposed to the perils and privations of founding a new city, with some hope that their condition would be easier in future, but, we may be sure, with a sad consciousness that their work was, after all, but half done. For what did it benefit them that individuals were protected from single acts of violence when the tribune happened to be at hand, so long as the lawful power of the oppressor remained undiminished ? What could the tribune effect, so long as the bad laws remained in force ? But the tribuneship, thus established by “ a bad compromise,” was destined to a long life and a striking history. At first a clumsy contrivance for special cases of wrong, it was soon used by the rich plebeians (against whom in part it was first established) to aid in extorting political equality for their order; then the Senate found it its most useful tool in helping govern the State ; afterwards it became a fearful engine of destruction in the hands of demagogues, and had no small share in the overthrow of the republic; and at last, when all offices of the republic had become mere forms, this name continued to the last days of the empire, an empty title of honor, eagerly sought by aspiring politicians.
Another attempt was made, and this time the reform attempted was more sweeping. Decemvirs were appointed, whose object was probably threefold : to establish a new chiefmagistracy in place of the consulate ; to unite the orders by admitting plebeians to the highest office of state (four of the second set of Decemvirs were plebeians); and to limit the powers of the magistrates by codifying the laws, instead of leaving them to exercise justice at their discretion, as heretofore. The last of these succeeded ; the others failed. And they could not but fail; because, while all the old officers, patrician and plebeian, - thus including the tribunes, — had made way for these new magistrates, and the poorer citizens were left without any protection, the old bad laws remained in force, — moderated somewhat in severity, to be sure, but in the main the same, — and the people were no better off than before the tribunes were first granted. Gross acts of tyranny convinced them of this, and the old form of government was restored, with little opposition. So a second noble opportunity was thrown away, and the vigor of a revolutionary spirit wasted in struggles about the form, while the substance remained untouched.
It was the great misfortune of Rome that no statesman was found to do for her what Solon did for Athens, who by one act placed the relation of debtor and creditor, the tenure and alienation of land, and the coinage of the country, on so just and satisfactory a footing, that never thereafter was the state disturbed by dissensions from this source. The history of Rome shows us, on the other hand, only a succession of compromises and half-way measures, concessions as late and grudgingly yielded as possible, temporary expedients resorted to which seemed to grant while they really withheld, and never the principle which lay at the foundation of the abuses touched boldly and in a sincere spirit of reform. Never was the cancer which at last destroyed the state really healed. Only for a time, during the period of the real greatness of Rome, while the lustre of her conquests obscured the dark spots which had yet begun to spread, while the rulers of the state were as a whole really noble and wise and the people contented and prosperous, and while, above all, the numerous colonies, which served somewhat the purpose that " at the present day a comprehensive and carefully managed system of emigration would do," provided from time to time for what would otherwise have
been a suffering and dangerous proletariate, the causes of evil were inoperative, although lying ready for a change of circumstances to bring them into action. So, although we commonly consider the Licinian laws as the era of the consolidation of the Roman state, they formed in reality but one — the most important — of the various steps by which political equality was at last gained, while the efforts for social reform must be said, on the whole, to have failed. It was only, indeed, by making this a sort of “ omnibus bill” that the social questions were touched at all. The noble plebeians — the Licinii, Sextii, Marcii, Popillii, Plautii, etc. — were no longer satisfied with their senatorial rank and the powers and emoluments this gave them, and, in order to attain the curule offices, entered into a severe and protracted contest with their old associates, the patricians. To accomplish this, they must, like Clisthenes, “ take the people into partnership,” and incorporate social reforms, for which they personally cared nothing, with the political reforms with which the mass of the people had little concern. The coalition succeeded after a struggle of ten years, and from its success we may date the real greatness and prosperity of the republic. The curule offices and the three important religious corporations (the pontifices, augurs, and decemviri sacris faciundis) were by this and later enactments thrown open to the plebeians; the law of debt and credit was in time modified to a reasonable degree of mildness; the rate of interest was lowered; the amount of public land to be occupied by each citizen was restricted to five hundred jugera, — a regulation which soon fell into disuse ; and by a special and beneficent provision of the Licinian law, the sum already paid as interest was deducted from the principal. But more than this was demanded, and was not given. “Circumstances so clearly demanded the division of the domainland then occupied, partly among the possessors up to a reasonable maximum amount, partly among the destitute (eigenthumlosen) plebcians, but in either case as full property, the abolition in the future of the system of occupation, and the establishment of a magistracy (Behörde) for the purpose of the immediate division of future acquisitions of domain, that the fault was certainly not in the judgment if these sweeping measures were not carried through. We cannot help remembering that it was the plebeian aristocracy – that is to say, itself a part of the class actually privileged with respect to the use of the domain — which proposed the new regulations, and that one of their originators himself, Caius Licinius Stolo, was found among those first condemned for exceeding the maximum of land; and we cannot help proposing the question whether the lawgivers acted quite honorably, and did not rather designedly avoid such a settlement of the troublesome question of the public lands as should be beneficial to all.” (p. 274.) However this may be, the coalition lasted no longer than was necessary to secure the desired results; the old patrician and plebeian aristocracy soon united again, and, as nobles or optimates, ruled the republic until its downfall.
We have thus given an imperfect view of some of the most striking portions of Prof. Mommsen's History, and have been led, by the importance of the subject and the generally erroneous ideas which prevail upon it, to enter more fully into the subject of the social questions which agitated the Roman republic in its early years than we at first intended. It is not too much to say that every chapter shows the same rich scholarship, and clear and masterly tracing of cause and effect, with those we have examined; he touches nothing on which he does not throw some new light. If his style were as simple and clear as his ideas are at once deep and brilliant, we do not know what quality of an historian he could be said to lack.
s romanes. (IIT.) Art. IV. – LITERATURE OF THE LEGENDS OF KING ARTHUR.
1. La Mort d'Arthure. The History of King Arthur and of the
Knights of the Round Table. Compiled by Sir THOMAS MA-
Russell Smith. 1858. 2. The Age of Chivalry. Part I. King Arthur and his Knights.
Part II. The Mabinogeon. By THOMAS BULFINCII. Boston:
Crosby, Nichols, & Co. 1859. 3. King Arthur. By Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart. Phila
delphia : Hogan and Thompson. 1851. 4. Idyls of the King. By ALFRED Tennyson. Boston: Ticknor
and Fields. 1859. Lity, MR. SHARON TURNER, in his admirable History of the AngloSaxons, gives, with the conscientious care which distinguishes his research, all that can be authentically settled about King Arthur. It seems that he lived in the first half of the sixth century, a prince of the south of Britain, and head of a confederation of British kings. His claim to distinction is that he fought against invading Saxons, and was successful in staying for a while, though he could not prevent, their advance. He was a patriot and a brave warrior in his own little region, and has a place in its local history. He was mortally wounded, A. D. 542, in a battle with his nephew Medrawd, who had seduced from him the affections of his wife, Gwenhyfar; and he died in Glastonbury, whither his friends had.carried him from the field of Camlan to be healed of his hurt. There, six centuries later, by command of Henry II., they searched in the cemetery of the monastery, and found his bones, enclosed in hollowed oak, under a leaden cross which bore the inscription, “ Hic jacet sepultus inclytus Rex Arthurus, in insula Avallonia.” The skull showed how good a fighter he had been, for it bore the marks of nine closed wounds, beside the open cleft which had let in death. In the same grave were the bones of his wife, with her yellow hair perfect in form and color to the sight, but falling into dust in the hands of the monk who laid hold of it. This petty sovereign of South Wales was the actual Arthur.