Page images
PDF
EPUB

XXXIV.

ON THE LEGES ANNALES OF THE ROMANS'.

66

To the inquiry, what are the years appointed by the Lex Villia for holding the several offices in the state, it is usual to answer, Cicero makes a boast of his having obtained omnes honores anno suo," consequently one may take the dates in Cicero's life at which he exercised the several functions to be those by law defined. In this reasoning there are two important errors to be condemned.

[ocr errors]

a. Cicero nowhere says that he obtained " omnes honores anno suo.' In Agrar. 11. c. 2, and Brut. 94, 323, he makes this assertion merely with reference to the consulship, and in the passage de Offic. 11. 17," nam pro amplitudine honorum, quos cunctis suffragiis adepti sumus nostro quidem anno, sane exiguus sumptus ædilitatis fuit," the quæstorship and ædileship are clearly excluded, and the prætorship and consulship alone alluded to. As regards the remaining offices, he merely boasts (Pison. c. 1.) of having been quæstor “in primis, ædilis prior."

[ocr errors]

b. I affirm that the expression "anno meo," 66 anno suo," generally refers not to the age of the candidate, but rather to the fixed delay, which had to expire after the administration of the office immediately preceding, before a man could obtain the one next in succession. When this interval had elapsedaccording to Cic. ad Fam. x. 5, it consisted of a "biennium," which is also to be inferred from Cic. Phil. v. 17, "Si anno superiore quæstor fuisset," then came the "annus suus," when a man was by law entitled to become a candidate for the next appointment. Few, however, arrived at a consulship

This paper originally appeared in the Rheinish Museum for 1844, p. 276, &c., and has been translated into English by C. K. Watson, of Trinity College, Cambridge.

2 Liv. XL. 44, "Eo anno rogatio pri

mum lata est ab L. Villio tribuno plebis, quot annos nati quemque magistratum peterent caperentque." Ovid, Fast. v. 65, Finitaque certis legibus est ætas unde petatur honos."

46

"hoc modo," and no "homines novi" previous to Cicero (Agrar. 11. c. 2). If now any one entered into the first office at the earliest age allowed by law, then indeed the "annus suus" and the statutable year, as fixed by our supposition in the lex annalis, fell together; but the individual who exercised the functions of the first offices at a later period than was assigned by the law, might obtain the succeeding offices "anno suo," without being appointed to them, as a necessary consequence, at the earliest age allowed by the law. The following arguments speak in favour of this interpretation of the "annus suus:"

1. Cic. ad Fam. x. 25.-" Multi clarissimi viri annum petitionis suæ non obierunt. Quod eo facilius nobis est, quod non est annus hic tibi destinatus, ut, si ædilis fuisses, post biennium tuus annus esset." Here the "annus tuus" is evidently made to depend not on the time of life, but on the "biennium post ædilitatem."

2. Cic. Agrar. 11. c. 2.—" Reperietis, novos homines multis annis post petiisse quam prætores fuissent, aliquanto serius quam per ætatem ac leges liceret: qui autem suo anno petierint," &c. Here it is plain what the "annus suus" put in opposition means. While the "homines novi" in general did not venture to enter the contest till "multis annis post præturam," Cicero became a candidate "quam primum licitum fuit," and was appointed consul (immediately after the biennium, or)" anno suo," the others "serius quam per leges licebat," and hence, as a natural consequence, " serius quam per ætatem licebat." The "per ætatem ac leges" are, therefore, to be distinguished from each other.

3. Cic. Brut. 93, 321.-" Atque ut alia omittam in hoc spatio (i. e. per hoc tempus) et [in] his post ædilitatem annis et prætor primus et incredibili populi voluntate sum factus." Orelli rightly perceived that "et-et-et" here correspond with each other, and that "his" (i. e. tam paucis) post ædilitatem annis" was one of the three distinctions which Cicero met with in his contest for the prætorship. Ellendt falsely supposed these words to be an explanation of "in hoc spatio," and hence wished to strike them out as a gloss.

4. Were not the above interpretations of the "annus suus suus" correct, Cicero could in no way have said of himself that he obtained the consulate "anno suo." For Cicero, three days

after his entry into the consulate, entered on his forty-fourth year, and was therefore consul " anno ætatis XLIV," which no one has yet looked upon as the statutable age.

5. According to Pliny (Ep. vII. 16), Pliny and Tiro were quæstors together. The latter was appointed tribune as a favour, a year sooner than Pliny. But Pliny overtook him in the prætorship, having had a year allowed him in the contest for that office. This leads us to take for granted that in obtaining entrance into one of the lower offices at an earlier period than usual, the succeeding office was also sooner obtained. The favour granted had reference to the intervening delay, not to the time of life, which has been correctly remarked, for this particular case by Masson (Vita Plin. p. 42).

6. The year in which any one urged a claim to a province after exercising the functions of consul or of prætor, was also called "annus suus." But in this case the year alluded to cannot mean the time of life, but only the time elapsed since the tenure of the office, which at many periods was fixed by law (Dio Cass. LIII. 14); Sueton. Galb. 3, "prohibitusque a Tiberio, sortiri anno suo proconsulatum." So also in Tac. Agric. c. 42, "aderat jam annus quo proconsulatum sortiretur."

A second preliminary inquiry is called for by an assertion of Manutius de Legg. Romanis. Cicero (pro Lege Manil. 21, 62) says: "Quid tam singulare, quam ut ex Senatus consulto legibus solutus, consul ante fieret quam ullum alium magistratum per leges capere licuisset." Pompey became a candidate for the consulate, according to Appian, B. Civ. 1. 121, ĕroS EXWV TÉTAPTOV Èπì TOTS TρIAKÓνra,—by a more accurate calculation he was 352 years old when he entered on the consular office. It is, therefore, clear that in the above passage Cicero is merely speaking of the "magistratus curules," and consequently one must pardon the expression "ullum alium magistratum," as belonging to the aristocratically coloured rhetoric of the new prætor, who now no longer puts the non-curule magistracies on the same footing which he so pointedly assigns to them in his Republic (de Legg. 111. 3, 7)-"ollisque (ædilibus) ad honoris amplioris gradum is primus ascensus esto," while in Verr. Acc. c. 4, he makes the "quæstura" to be the "primus gradus honoris," as also Ulpian, de Off. Quæstoris (Dig. 1, tit. 13), “ingressus est enim (quæstura) et quasi primordium gerendorum honorum." But Manutius, p. 108, goes still further, and maintains that the.

"lex annalis" had no reference whatever to the non-curule offices. The examples which Lipsius (de Magistratibus) cites in opposition to him, in which the expression "ætas quæstoria" occurs, do not, it must be owned, furnish much proof against Manutius, as they are all taken out of the time of the emperors, when, it is a well-known fact, that a definite year was fixed for the quæstorship. To this class I also add a passage in Quintilian (XII. 6), where he is speaking, indeed, of persons who lived during the Republic; but the expression "quæstoria ætas might easily have been borrowed from the mode of speaking in Quintilian's time. Manutius might, too, have appealed to Latinus Pacatus' Panegyricus Theodosii, who remarks: "Cujus quidem rei ita fuit cura majoribus, ut non in amplissimis magistratibus adipiscendis solum, sed in præturis quoque aut ædilitatibus capessendis ætas spectata sit petitorum," where it certainly may be looked upon as surprising that he only went down as far as the ædileship; but one cannot place any reliance upon such an author.

It is certainly true, that in no writer of the time of the Republic do we anywhere find mention made of the age requisite for the quæstorship, and one might easily be led to conclude, that in the case of this office, which was originally solely of a military kind (Tac. Annal. xi. 22), no such restrictions were necessary, as the admission to it depended on military service and advancement. According to Polybius (vi. 19), a service of ten years was requisite for entering on the lowest office. That even in the time of the emperors, military service proved an introduction to a political career is shewn by Seneca, Ep. 47, "Quam multos splendidissime natos senatorium per militiam auspicantes gradum fortuna depressit," and Dio Cass. LXVII. 11: Ιούλιος Καλούασταρος κεχιλιαρχηκὼς ἐς βουλείας ἐλπίδα. Perhaps this was the motive which induced Gracchus (Plut. Gracch. c. 5) to institute a law, νεώτερον ὄντα ἑπτὰ καὶ δέκα ἐτῶν μὴ καταλέγεσθαι στρατιώτην, since the aristocracy availed themselves too much of the advantages presented by an early entrance into the army (Liv. xxv. 5), "ut qui minores annis septem et decem sacramento dixissent iis perinde stipendia procederent, ac si septem et decem annorum aut majores milites facti essent."

We see, however, that when the commencement of a political career, and the claims of standing thereon founded, are ever

[ocr errors]

spoken of, recurrence is always made to the quæstorship. If now we reflect, that the main restriction of the law bore an especial reference to the interval that had to elapse between the tenure of the several offices, and that still it is written in that law "quot annos nati quemque magistratum peterent caperentque," we must thence conclude that both the restrictions were combined in the law in such a manner, that the statutable time of life should fall in with the appointed intervals. But in that case, it were singular that no ætas" should be taken and fixed by the statute for the first entrance into the honores. There were also many persons, not "homines militares," who became candidates for offices in the state, "propter juris civilis scientiam" (Cic. p. Mur. c. 23); and yet the statute must have been applicable to these. Analogy, however, is the strongest argument in support of the above supposition, inasmuch as in the time of the emperors (see below), and in the Municipia, at a still earlier period, a definite age was requisite for the first entrance into offices of state. As for the rest, it is plain from the following passages that the standing necessary for an early admission to the higher offices, depended not merely on the ædileship but also on the quæstorship, a fact, indeed, which Manutius would not deny. In Cic. p. Muran. Sulpicius complains that Muræna was selected for the consulate in place of himself, and he observes, “Quæsturam una petiit et sum ego factus (i.e. renuntiatus) prior." (Cic. Phil. v. 17.) A decree is made in favour of Octavianus: ejusque rationem, quemcunque magistratum petet, ita haberi, ut haberi per leges liceret, si anno superiore quæstor fuisset," i.e. he received the standing of a quæstorius of thirty-two years of age. At the same time3 he was allowed to become a candidate for the consulate ten years before the statutable time, that is, according to the previous decree, it was ordered that he should be looked upon as in his 42nd year. This seems to me to indicate a "decursus honorum," comprising twelve years, from the 30th to the 42nd year of his life. As regards the importance of the lower offices, a passage of great weight is to be found in Cic. p. Planc. c. 21, where he quotes many instances of individuals, who had been elected consuls without having

Dio Cass. XLVI. 29; Cic. ad Brut. ep. 15: "Statuam Philippus decrevit,

[ocr errors]

celeritatem petitionis primo Servius, post celeriorem etiam Servilius."

« PreviousContinue »