Having repelled the ravagers of your country, he | Phocion was shortly afterwards put to death by his brought you from the mountains to the plain, and own countrymen, the Athenians, in a mad outbreak of taught you to confide, not in your fastnesses, but in your popular fury. Greece cannot be said to have produced valour. By his wisdom and discipline, he trained you one great man after Phocion; and this deficiency of to arts and civility, enriched you with mines of gold, wise and able leaders was doubtless one chief cause of instructed you in navigation and commerce, and ren the insignificance into which the various states, great dered you a terror to those nations at whose names and small, sunk after this epoch. you used to tremble. Need I mention his conquests The ancient history of Greece, as an independent in Upper Thrace, or those, still more valuable, in the country, now draws to a close. Achaia, hitherto a maritine provinces of that country? Having opened the small, unimportant state, having begun to make some gates of Greece, he chastised the Phænicians, reduced pretensions to political consequence, excited the enmity the Thessalians, and while I shared the command, de- of Sparta, and was compelled to seek the protection of feated and humbled the Athenians and Thebans, eter- Philip, the ruling prince of Macedon. Philip took the nal foes to Macedon, to whom you had been successively field against the Spartans, and their allies the Ætoliane, tributaries, subjects, and slaves. But my father ren- and was in a fair way of subjecting all Greece by aris dered you their masters; and having entered the and influence, when he ventured on the fatal step of Peloponnesus, and regulated at discretion the affairs commencing hostilities against the Romans. This of that peninsula, he was appointed, by universal measure consummated the ruin of Greece, as well as conscnt, gencral of combined Greece; an appointment that of Macedon. The Romans warred with Philip not more honourable to himself than glorious for till the end of his life (175 B.C.), and continued the his country. At my accession to the throne, I found contest with his son Perseus, whom they utterly dea debt of 500 talents, and scarcely sixty in the seated, and with whom ended the line of the kings of treasury. I contracted a fresh debt of 800; and con- Macedon. In a few years the once illustrious and free ducting you froin Macedon, whose boundaries seemed republics of Greece were converted into a Roman prounworthy to confine you, safely crossed the Hellespont, vince, under the name of Achaia (146 B.c.). though the Persians then commanded the sea. By one Thus terminates the fourth and last period of Greek victory we gained Ionia, Æolia, both Phrygias, and history, during which there flourished several eminent Lydia. By our courage and activity, the provinces of writers and philosophers, among whom may be numCilicia and Syria, the strength of Palestine, the anti- bered Theocritus, a pastoral poet; Xenophon, Polybius, quity of Egypt, and the renown of Persia, were added Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius Halicarnassus, Plutarch, to your empire. Yours now are Bactria and Aria, the and Herodian, historians; Demosthenes, an orator; productions of India, the fertility of Assyria, the wealth and Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and Epicurus, philosophers; of Susa, and the wonders of Babylon. You are gene- also Zeuxis, Timanthes, Pamphilus, Nicias, Apelles, rals, princes, satraps. What have I reserved for myself and Eupompus, painters; and Praxiteles, Polycletua, but this purple and diadem, which mark my pre- Camachus, Naucides, and Lysippus, sculptors. eminence in toil and dangers ? Where are my private In the condition of a humble dependency of Rome, treasures ? Or why should I collect them? Are my and therefore following the fate of that empire, Greece pleasures expensive? You know that I fare worse than remained for upwards of four succeeding centuries; any of yourselves; and have in nothing spared my but although of little political importance, it still reperson. Let him who dares compare with me. Let tained its pre-eminence in learning. Enslaved as the him barc his breast, and I will bare mine. My body, land was, it continued to be the great school of the time. the fore part of my body, is covered with honourable As Greece had formerly sent its knowledge and arts wounds from every sort of weapon. I often watch, that over the East by the arms of one of her own kings, she you may repose safely; and to testify my unreinitting now diffused them over the western world under the attention to your happiness, had determined to send protection of Rome. Athens, which was the emporium honie the aged and infirmi among you, loaded with of Grecian learning and elegance, became the resort of wealth and honour. But since you are all desirous to all who were ambitious of excelling either in knowledge leave me, go! Report to your countrymen that, un- or the arts; statesmen went thither to improve them. mindful of the signal bounty of your king, you intrusted selves in eloquence; philosophers to learn the tenets him to the vanquished barbarians. The report, doubt- of the sages of Greece; and artists to study models of less, will bespeak your gratitude and piety.'

excellence in building, statuary, or painting; natives of This impassioned and touching oration decply affected Greece were also found in all parts of the world, gainthe discontented soldiers, and all gladly returned to ing an honourable subsistence by the superior knowtheir allegiance. Shortly after this, the extraordinary ledge of their country. That country in the meantime carcer of Alexander was suddenly cut short by death. was less disturbed by intestine feuds than formerly, but At Babylon, while engaged in extensive plans for the was not exempt from the usual fate of conquests, being future, he became sick, and died in a few days, 323 B.C. subject to the continual extortions of governors and Such was the end of this conqueror, in his thirty-second lieutenants, who made the conquered provinces the year, after a reign of twelve years and cight months. means of repairing fortunes which had been broken by He left behind him an immense empire, which, possess- flattering the caprices of the populace at home. ing no consolidated power, and only loosely united by The period of the independence of Greece, during conquest, became the scene of continual wars. The which all those great deeds were performed which have generals of the Macedonian army respectively seized attracted the attention of the world, may be reckonel upon different portions of the empire, each trusting in from the era of the first Persian war to the conquest his sword for an independent establishment. The of Macedon, the last independent Greek state, by the grcedy struggle for power finally terminated in con- Romans. This period, as we have seen, embraced firming Ptolemy in the possession of Egypt; Seleucus little more than 300 years. It is not, therefore, from in Upper Asia ; Cassander in Macedon and Greece; the duration of the independent political power of while several of the provinces in Lower Asia fell to the the Grecian states that their celebrity arises. Even share of Lysimachus.

the patriotism of their soldiers, and the devoted heroism

of Thermopylæ and Marathon, have been emulated CONCLUDING PERIOD OF GREEK HISTORY,

elsewhere without attracting much regard ; and we At the death of Alexander, the Athenians considered must therefore conclude that it is chiefly from the supeit a fit opportunity to emancipate themselves from the riority of its poets, philosophers, historians, and artists, ascendancy of Macedon; but without success. Demos-that the importance of the country in the eyes of thenes, one of the most eminent patriots and orators modern men arises. The political squabbles of the of Athens, on this occasion, to avoid being assassinated | Athenians are forgotten; but the moral and intelby order of Antipater, the Macedonian viceroy, killed lectual researches of their philosophers, and the elegant himself by swallowing poison ; and his compatriot remains of their artists, possess an undying fake.


[ocr errors]

great emergencies. Social order within the limits of each little state was further secured by the natural arrangement into families—the authority of the head of a family in primitive society amounting even to the power of life and death over all members of that family. Besides the division into families, however, there existed in the ancient states of Italy and Greece another natural division, of a kind of which we have no exact type in modern times—that into Gentes, or, as it may with some license be translated, Houses. The gens, or house, was an association of families—ten, twelve, or twenty families to a gens: the connecting ties being descent from a common ancestor, or at least belief in such a descent; the obligation at stated times to perform certain sacrifices and religious rites in com

mon; and certain legal advantages which the associang mga

tion procured for its members—such as the right of the gens to succeed to the property of any of its

members who might die intestate, and without direct heirs. Each gens had its head or chief; and the heads or chiefs of the gentes in any community constituted a sort of natural senate, or assembly of aged and experienced persons, whom the king could consult as an intermediate body between himself and the entire Populus, or People. Thus in Rome, the constitution of

which, about the year B. c. 754, seems to have attained ABOUT the year 754 B.c., at that point of Central Italy, a pretty fixed shape, the heads of the hundred gentes nearly fifteen miles from the Tuscan Sea, where the into which, according to the traditional system of round Anio joins the Tiber, there stood on a height, called numbers, the little community was divided, constituted the Palatine Mount, a little village named Roma, the a senate or assembly of elders, acting as advisers of the centre of a small township, consisting probably of 5000 king, and generally as the chief men of the state. or 6000 inhabitants, all of them husbandmen and Honest gray-haired old farmers we may suppose these shepherds. This Rome was one of the border town- primitive Roman senators to have been, with firm faith, ships of Latium, a territory of fertile and undulating nevertheless, that in their veins flowed the blood of table-land extending from the Tiber to the Liris, and heroes and demigods of the olden time, the duty of from the sea-coast to the hills of the interior. The whole remembering whom formed part of their household surface of Latium was under diligent cultivation, and religion. The gens of the Fabii, for instance, traced was covered with villages similar to Rome, which to themselves up to an imaginary hero, named Fabius; gether constituted what was called the Latin nation. the gens of the Nautii to an imaginary Nautius, strong

limbed, and powerful in battle. EARLY INHABITANTS OF ITALY-THE LATINS-PRIMITIVE Rome, we have said, was a frontier township of La

tium. It was situated precisely at that point where The population of Latium consisted of a mixture of the territories of Latium adjoined those of two other Oscans, who are supposed to have been the aboriginal nations—of the Sabines, a hardy Oscan race of sherinhabitants of this as of other parts of Italy, with herds inhabiting the angular district between the Anio Pelasgians, an invading race, who, obeying the ten- and the Tiber; and of the Etruscans, a remarkable dency of the human species in early times to move people, of unknown but probably Oriental origin, who westward, had poured themselves out of Asia into the bad arrived in the north of Italy some centuries later south-eastern parts of Europe, and after filling Greece, than the Pelasgians, and conquering all before them, had sought settlements on the Italian coasts. The whether Pelasgians or Oscans, by the force of superior language of the Latins, accordingly, was a compound civilisation, had settled chiefly in the region between of Pelasgic (which was also the radical element of the the Arnus and the Tiber, corresponding to modern Greek) with Oscan, the aboriginal tongue of the dis- Tuscany. Between these three races--Oscans, Pelastrict, and which still lingered among the mountaineers gians, and Etruscans-either apart, or in various comof the Apennines. It was a tradition among the binations, all Italy, with the exception perhaps of some Latins themselves, that their nation had been founded, portions near the Alps, was divided: the Oscans preor at least re-organised, by Æneas, one of the mythic dominating in the interior; the Pelasgians, or rather heroes of the “Iliad," who, on the destruction of his Pelasgo-Oscans, along the coasts, as in Latium; and native city Troy, had sought refuge in Italy. The pro- the Etruscans in the parts above-mentioned. While geny of this hero, it was believed, still reigned over the Italian peninsula was thus occupied but by three Alba Longa, the chief of all the Latin cities, and the great races or main stocks; the political divisions or capital of the nation. The general affairs of the com- nations into which it was parcelled out were so numemunity were administered by a confederacy of thirty of rous, howerer, that it would be scarcely possible to the principal townships. As regarded its own special give a complete list of them. government, however, each township, powerful enough Situated so near to the Sabine and Etruscan fronto resist encroachment, was independent. The govern- tiers, an intercourse, sometimes friendly and sometimes ment in all these petty states or townships, Rome hostile, must naturally have been carried on between among the rest, was of the primitive heroic model : a the Latins of Rome and the Sabines and Etruscans, king or chiestain, of high Iineage, presided over the with whom they were in contact. A chain of events, community, governing by divine right, but in accord - which history cannot now trace, but which is indicated ance with certain time-hallowed customs, one of which in a poetic manner by a number of early Roman lewas, that of assembling the people for consultation on gends, led to the incorporation of Rome with two neighNo. 57.







bouring towns--one of them a small dependency of the which he had founded on the Palatine; and it was in Etruscans, situated on the Cælian Hill, and probably his reign that those events took place which terminated named Lucerum; another a Sabine village on the in the establishment of the triple community of the Quirinal Hill, called Quirium. The Etruscans, or Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. Setting out with RomuEtrusco-Latins as they seem rather to have been, of lus, the Romans traced the history of their state through Lucerum were received on a subordinate footing; the a series of legends relating to six kings, his successors, Sabines of Quirium on one of equality; but the joint whose characters, and the lengths of their reigns, are city continued to bear its old name of Roma. The all duly determined. Of this traditionary succession of population of this new Rome consisted, therefore, of seven kings, extending over a period of 245 years (B. C. three tribes—the ancient Romans, who called them- 754-509), history can recognise with certainty the existselves Ramnes; the Sabines of Quirium, who called ence of only the two or three latest. It is possible, themselves Tities; and the Etrusco-Latins of Lucerum, however, to elicit out of the legends a glimmering of who were named Luceres.

the actual history of the Roman state during these imaginary reigns.

Possessed, as all our information respecting the Ro.

mans in later times justifies us in supposing, of an With the enlargement of the population of Rome by unusual degree of that warlike instinct which was so the addition of these new masses of citizens, a change rampant among the early tenants of our globe, the of the constitution became of course necessary. The shepherd farmers of Rome were incessantly engaged in following seems to have been the form ultimately as- raids on their Latin, Etruscan, and Sabine neighbours. sumed:-Governed by a common sovereign, eligible by Strong-bodied, valiant, and persevering, as we also the whole community from one of the superior tribes— know them to have been, they were, on the whole, sucthe Ramnes and the Tities, the three tribes intrusted cessful in these raids; and the consequence was, a grathe conduct of their affairs to a senate composed of 200 dual extension of their territory, particularly on the members, 100 of whom represented the gentes of the Latin side, by the conquest of those who were weaker Rampes, and 100 the gentes of the Tities. The Luceres, than themselves. After each conquest, their custom as an inferior tribe, were not represented in the senate; was to deprive the conquered community of a part of and their political influence was limited to the right to their lands, and also of their political independence, vote with the other two tribes in the general assemblies annexing them as subjects to the Populus Romanus. of the whole people. In these general assemblies, or The consequence was a gradual accumulation round Comitia, as they were called, the people voted; not in the original Populus, with its 300 Houses, of a subjectdividually, nor in families, nor in gentes, but in divi- population, free-born, and possessing property, but sions called Curiæ or Curies; the Curia being the tenth without political influence. This subject-population, part of a tribe, and including, according to the ancient the origin of which is dated by the legends from the system of round numbers, ten gentes. Thus the entire reign of Ancus Martius, the fourth king from Romulus, Populus Romanus, or Roman people, of this primitive received the name of the Plebs, a word which we transtime consisted of thirty curies--ten curies of Ramnes, late ' common people,' but which it would be more ten of Tities, and ten of Luceres: the ten curies of each correct, in reference to these very ancient times, to tribe corresponding to 100 gentes, and the thirty curies translate • conquered people. Besides the plebs, the together making up 300 gentes. As the Luceres were Roman community received another ingredient in the an inferior tribe, their gentes were called Gentes Mi- persons called Clients ; strangers, that is, most of them nores, or Lesser Houses; while those of the Ramnes professing mechanical occupations, who, arriving in and Tities were called Gentes Majores, or Greater Rome, and not belonging to a gens, were obliged, in Houses. The assembly of the whole people was called order to secure themselves against molestation, to atthe Comitia Curiata, or Meeting of Curies. After a tach themselves to some powerful citizen willing to measure had been matured by the king and senate, it protect them, and called by them Patronus, or Patron. was submitted to the whole people in their curies, who About six centuries before Christ, therefore, the popumight accept or reject, but could not alter, what was lation of the growing township of Roma may be conthus proposed to them. An appeal was also open to sidered as having consisted of four classes-1st, The the curies against any sentence of the king, or of the populus, or patricians, a governing class, consisting of judges nominated by him in his capacity of supreme a limited number of powerful families, holding them. justiciary. The king, moreover, was the high priest of selves aloof from the rest of the community, not interthe nation in peace, as well as the commander-in-chief marrying with them, and gradually diminishing in during war. The 300 gentes furnished each a horse- consequence; 2d, The plebs, or plebeians, a large and man, so as to constitute a body of cavalry; the mass of continually-increasing subject-population, of the same the people forming the infantry. The right of assem- mixed Etrusco-Sabine-Latin blood as the populus, but bling the senate lay with the king, who usually con- domineered over by them by right of conquest; 3d, The vened it three times a month.

clients, a considerable class, chiefly occupied in handiSuch was ancient Rome, as it appears to the historic craft professions in the town, while the populus and eye endeavouring to penetrate the mists of the past, the plebs confined themselves to the more honourable where at first all seems vague and wavering. The in- occupation, as it was then esteemed, of agriculture; and quirer to whom we owe the power to conceive the con- 4th, The slaves, or servi, whether belonging to patri. dition of ancient Rome, so far as that depended on po- cians, plebeians, or clients—a class who were valued litical institutions, was the celebrated German historian along with the cattle. Niebuhr, Not so, however, did the Romans conceive The increasing numbers of the plebs, the result of their own early history. In all ancient communities, fresh wars, and the value of their services to the comit was a habit of the popular imagination, nay, it was munity, entitled them to possess, and emboldened them part of the popular religion, to trace the fortunes of to claim, some political consideration. Accordingly, the community to some divine or semi-divine founder; in the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth of the whose exploits, as well as those of his heroic successors, legendary kings, and in whose reputed Etruscan lineage formed the subject of numerous sacred legends and bal- historians fancy that they can discern a time when lads. Now, it was part of the Roman faith that their Etruscan influence, if not Etruscan arins, reigned paracity had been founded at a point of time corresponding mount in Rome, a modification of the original constiwith B.c. 754, by twin brothers of miraculous birth, tution took place. A number of the richest plebeian called Romulus and Remus, whose father was the war families were drafted into the populus, to supply the god Mars, and their mother a vestal virgin of the line blanks caused by the dying out of many of the ancient of the Alban kings, the progeny of the great Æneas. gentes of the Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres; and at the Romulus, according to this legend, surviving his brother same time the number of senators was increased to 300, Remus, became the king of the village of shepherds by the admission of the Luceres to the same rights as

[ocr errors]

the other two tribes. Even this modification was in-character and institutions, throw first it, and then all sufficient; and in order to do justice to the claims of Europe, into fermentation? the plebs, Servius Tullius, the successor of Tarquinius, It required a period of 119 years (B. C. 509-390) to and who is gratefully celebrated in Roman history as enable the Romans to burst the chain of petty nations • the King of the Commons,' proposed and effected an -Latins, Volscians, Vejentes, &c.—which girdled in entire renovation of the political system of the state. their strength. This was a period of almost incessant His first reform consisted in giving the plebs a regular warfare; the last glorious act of which was the siege internal organisation for its own purposes, by dividing and capture of Veii by the hero Camillus, B.C. 395, or it into thirty tribes or parishes-four for the town, and in the year of the city 359. By this capture part of twenty-six for the country each provided with an Etruria was added to the Roman dominions, and the officer or tribe-convener called the Tribune, as well as influence of the state considerably extended on all with a detailed machinery of local government; and sides. This conquest, as well as the career of victory all permitted to assemble in a general meeting called against Æquians, Volscians, &c. which had preceded the Comitia Tributa, to discuss matters purely affecting it, was greatly facilitated by a confederacy, offensive the plebs. But this was not all. To admit the plebs and defensive, which had subsisted between the Romans to a share in the general legislative power of the com- and the adjacent nations of the Latins and the Herni. munity, he instituted a third legislative body, called cans from the year of the city 268, the twenty-third the Comitia Centuriata, in addition to the two-the year after the expulsion of the kings, when it had been senate and the comitia curiata-already existing. The established by the instrumentality of an able patrician comitia centuriata was an assembly of the whole free named Spurius Cassius, who was three times, in cases population of the Roman territory-patricians, ple- of difficulty, elected to the consulship. This confedebeians, and clients-arranged, according to the amount racy with two powerful nations had insured the stabi. of their taxable property, in five classes, which again lity of the infant republic against all assaults. were subdivided into 195 bodies, called Centuries, each The second consulship of Spurius Cassius (year of century possessing a vote, but the centuries of the rich Rome 261, or B.C. 493) had also been remarkable as being much smaller than those of the poor, so as to the epoch of a formidable civic tumult- the first of secure a preponderance to wealth. The powers of the that long series of struggles between the patricians and comitia centuriata were similar to those of the comitia the plebeians which constitutes the most interesting curiata under the former system. They had the right portion of the annals of the carly Commonwealth. to elect supreme magistrates, and to accept or reject a Not long after the expulsion of the kings, the patrician measure referred to them by the king and senate. The gentes had begun to show a disposition to tamper comitia curiata, however, still continued to be held; with the Servian constitution, or at least to prevent and a measure, even after it had passed the comitia the plebs from obtaining more power than they already centuriata, had still to be approved by the curies possessed. The principal instrument by which they ere it could become a law. Notwithstanding this re- were able to cripple the energies of the plebs was the striction, the constitution of Servius Tullius was a operation of the law of debt. In primitive Rome, as great concession to the popular spirit, as it virtually in other ancient states, an insolvent debtor was liable admitted every free individual within the Roman terri- to be seized by his creditor, and kept in chains, or made tory to a share in the government.

to work as his slave. Now, such had been the distress An attempt on the part of Tarquinius Superbus, the of the first years of the republic, that multitudes of the successor of Servius Tullius, to undo the reforms of his plebeians, deprived, by the casualties of war, of their predecessor, and to establish what the ancients called little properties, had been obliged, in order to preserve a tyranny, or a government of individual will, led to the lives of their families, to become debtors to the the expulsion of him and his family, and to the aboli- patricians, the exclusive proprietors of the state lands. tion of the kingly form of government at Rome, B.C. Hundreds had, in consequence, fallen into a condition 509, or in the year of the city 245. Instead of a king, of slavery; and many more, fearing to offend their two annual magistrates called Consuls were appointed, patrician creditors by opposing their designs, had bein whom were vested all the kingly functions, with the come mere ciphers in the comitia centuriata. In short, exception of the pontifical, for which special function- the plebs, as a body, was disintegrated and disheartened. aries were created. Otherwise, the Servian constitution Some instances of oppression, more flagrant than ordiremained in full operation.

nary, led to an outbreak, and a clamour for the aboli

tion of all existing debts; and to enforce their demands, TI E COMMONWEALTH TO THE GAULISH INVASION-STRUGGLE the plebeians adopted a method of agitation which seems BETWEEN THE PATRICIANS AND PLEBEIANS,

singular enough to our modern conceptions : they, or After the expulsion of the kings, the little republic at least such of them as were in arms for military serhad to struggle through many difficulties arising from vice, retired in a mass from the city at a time when it the attacks of the neighbouring nations, incited thereto was threatened with invasion, and encamped on a hill by the Tarquinii. Ten of the twenty-six rural parishes near, declaring they would starve sooner than live in were torn away in the contest-a loss equivalent to a such a place as Rome was. The government was thus fuil third part of the Roman territory. It would have reduced to a dend lock ; Spurius Cassius was chosen required à prophetic eye to foresee that, of all the consul by the patricians; and by his instrumentality states into which Italy' was then divided, this little an arrangement was come to, by which the demands of struggling republic was to obtain the pre-eminence. the commons were conceded, existing debts abolished, One would have been disposed to promise the supre- a treaty of mutual obligation for the future agreed to macy of the peninsula rather to the cultured and large between the populus and the plebs as between two inbrained Etruscans, already masters of the north of dependent communities, and a new office instituted, Italy; to the hardy and valiant Samnites, who were under the title of the Tribuneship of the Common People, fast overspreading the southern interior; or, most pro- for the express purpose of protecting the interests of bably of all, to the Greeks, who, after adding Sicily to the plebs. The commons then returned to the city; the empire of their gifted race, were rapidly establish-two tribunes of the people were appointed; and their ing colonies on the southern coasts of the peninsula. number was subsequently increased first to five, and Nay, clustered round the Roman territories there were afterwards to terr. No one could have foreseen how various petty states, any one of which might have ap- important this office would become. peared a match for Rome—the Latins, the Æquians, Not content with alleviating the temporary distresses the Volscians, the Hernicans, the Sabines, and the of the plebeians, Spurius Cassius wished permanently Etruscans of Veii on the right bank of the Tiber. to ameliorate their condition; and accordingly, in his Who could have predicted that, bursting this cincture third consulship, in the year of the city 268, or B.C. of nations, the men of the Tiber would overspread the 486, he boldly proposed and carried what was called an peninsula, and, by the leavening influence of their Agrarian Law. It is absolutely necessary that the reader of Roman history should understand this term. the amendments which they effected on the old laws According to the early Roman constitution, the lands were favourable to the plebeians. The principal cu. acquired in war became the property of the whole stitutional changes which they carried out were the populus, or body of patricians, in common. Portions incorporation of patricians and clients with the ple. of the conquered lands might be purchased from the beian tribes; the investment of the centuries with the state by rich persons; and in such cases the purchaser, powers of an ultimate court of appeal; and the substi. whether patrician or plebeian, became absolute owner. tution of the decemviral office, of which they them. Usually, however, the lands were not sold, but were selves were an example, for the consulship, five of the annexed to the unallotted property already belonging decemvirs to be plebeians. This last change, however, to the populus. With regard to this state land, a very was of short duration; for the second decemvirate was curious system prevailed. Any patrician (but none brought to an end by its own depravity. Compellel, else) was allowed to occupy and cultivate as much of by a new secession of the commons, to abdicate, the it as he chose, on condition of paying to the state a decemvirs of 305 were succeeded by two popular contithe of the annual produce if it were arable land, and suls, under whose auspices several important privileges a fifth if it were laid out in oliveyards or vineyards. were obtained for the plebeians, the most important of The land thus occupied did not, by right of possession, which was a law conferring on a plebiscitum, or resolubecome the property of the individual: he was liable tion of the tribes, the right to become law on receiving to be turned out of it at the pleasure of the state-his the sanction of the patricians, thus enabling the whole landlord; and it was entirely at his own risk that he people to originate measures as well as the senate. laid out capital in improving it. As, however, it rarely In 310, the plebeians mustered courage to demand that happened that an individual was ejected from land one of the consuls should thenceforward be chosen from which he had thus occupied, large tracts of the state their order. To divert them from this, the patricians land were speedily occupied by enterprising patricians. yielded to another demand - the repeal of the law Such being the plan of distribution, it is evident that prohibiting intermarriage between the two orders. The in the state lands, occupied and unoccupied, the go- plebeians, however, still persisting in their demand vernment possessed a constant fund upon which they regarding the consulship, the patricians, in 311, offered could draw in cases of emergency. By selling portions a compromise, which consisted in breaking down the of it, they could raise money; and by assigning por- supreme authority, hitherto concentrated in the consultions of it to indigent families, they could permanently ship, into three offices—the Censorship, the Quæstor. provide for them. Several times, it appears, this had ship, and the Military Tribunate-with consular powers. been done in the case of indigent plebeian families; | The censors were to be two in number, chosen for a and the agrarian law of Spurius Cassius was simply a period of five years, by the curies from among the patri. proposal that-a large accession to the state lands cians, subject to the approval of the centuries. The having just taken place-the government should seize ostensible duty of the censors was the administration the opportunity to provide for the distressed plebeians, of the public revenues; but as they were intrusted with by apportioning them small portions of these state the task of determining the rank of every citizen, and lands. To the plebeians this proposal was exceedingly of rating his taxable property, their power was, in agreeable; not so, however, to the patricians, who pos- reality, enormous. To watch over the moral conduct sessed the right of occupying and farming as much of of the citizens, and to degrade such senators or knights the public territory as they chose, but who lost that as disgraced their order, were parts of their understood right from the moment that the land was apportioned duty. The quæstors, two in number, were to keep the by the state. The patricians, accordingly, resisted the public accounts; they were likewise to be patricians

, proposal with all their might; and Spurius Cassius but were to be chosen by the centuries. Regarding having carried it notwithstanding, they caused him to the third office, the military tribunate, the plebeians be impeached and put to death as soon as his consul. were to have the option of this office, consisting of an ship had expired.

indefinite number of persons of somewhat less dignity After this event, the patricians renewed their efforts than the consuls, but to be chosen by the centuries

suppress the plebs, proceeding so far as to transfer from either order indiscriminately, or of consuls to be the right of electing the consuls from the centuries to chosen, as before, from among the patricians only. the purely patrician body of the curies. The plebeians, This compromise having been accepted, the period however, behaved resolutely, asserting, their rights from 311 to 350 was one of incessant agitation on the through their tribunes, and by clamours in the comitia part of the plebeians, of incessant opposition on the tributa, where none but plebeians had a right to take a part of the patricians, of incessant shifting between the part. In the year of the city 271, or B.C. 483, they consulship and the military tribunate, according as the regained the power of choosing one of the consuls; and patricians or the plebeians were the stronger. On the in the year 283, or B.C. 471, they wrung from the whole, however, the plebeians gained ground. In 321, patricians the right of electing their tribunes in their the active authority of the censors was limited to own comitia tributa, instead of the centuries, at the eighteen months out of the five years for which they same time obtaining the right to discuss in the comitia were appointed. In 328, the tribes obtained the right tributa affairs affecting the whole Commonwealth. of deliberating on questions of peace and war. In 334, Other concessions followed ; and at length, in the the number of the quæstors was increased to four, to year 292, or B.C. 462, a tribune named Caius Teren- be chosen indiscriminately from either order. Lastly, tilius Harsa was so bold as to propose a complete in 350, or B.c. 404, the system of payment for military revision of the constitution in all its parts. It was service became common. During these forty years the not desirable, he said, that the old distinction between patricians had frequently had recourse to the expepopulus and plebs, which had originated in war, should dient of appointing a Dictator, or supreme magistrate

, be longer kept up; let, therefore, a revision of the with unlimited authority for six months. Such an apwhole body of the laws be undertaken, with a view to pointment almost always proved a temporary check to put the plebeians on a legal equality with the patri- the political advancement of the plebeians. In cases cians, and let some more limited form of supreme of difficulty also, arising from external danger, it was magistracy be substituted for the consulship. After a usual to appoint some able man dictator; and it was protracted opposition, this proposal resulted, in the at such a juncture, in the year 359, that, determined year 303, or B. C. 452, in the appointinent of the famous to bring the siege of Veii to a close, the Romans apFirst Decemvirate; a board of ten patricians, who were pointed Camillus to this high office. to revise the entire body of the laws, as well as the The siege of Veii having terminated so successfully, political machinery of the state, superseding in the the Romans were prepared to resume their career of meantime all other authority. The digest of Roman conquest without, and their political agitations within, law prepared by these decemvirs became the foundation when both the one and the other received a check from of all subsequent jurisprudence ainong the Romans; I an unexpected quarter. Some cause, now unknowl,


« ElőzőTovább »