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CHAP. favour of their measure throughout the whole course w of the year. A.U.C. 283. Volero was re-elected tribune 20; Appius Claudius

was chosen consul by the burghers, and T. Quintius was elected as his colleague by the centuries. With Volero there was chosen also another tribune more active than himself, Caius Lætorius 21; the oldest of all the tribunes, but a man endowed with a resolute spirit, and well aware of the duty of maintaining the contest vigorously. Fresh demands were added to those contained in Volero's first law: the ædiles were to be chosen by the tribes as well as the tribunes, and the tribes were to be competent 2- to consider all questions affecting the whole nation, and not such only as might concern the commons. Thus the proposed law was rendered more unwelcome to the burghers than ever, and Appius determined to resist it by force. Lætorius was provoked by the insulting language of the consul, and he swore that on the next day on which the law could be brought forward, he would either get it passed by the commons before evening, or would lay down his life upon the place 23. Accordingly when the tribes assembled, Appius stationed himself in the forum, surrounded by a multitude of the younger burghers and of his own clients, ready to interrupt the proceedings of the commons. Lætorius called the tribes to vote, and gave the usual order that all strangers,

23 Livy, II. 56.

20 Livy II. 56.
21 Dionysius, IX. 46.
22 Dionysius, IX. 43. Zonaras, VII. 17.


that is, all who did not belong to any tribe, should CHAP. withdraw from the forum. Appius refused to stir 24; - the tribune sent his officer to enforce obedience, but the consul's lictors beat off the officer, and a general fray ensued, in which Lætorius received some blows; and matters would have come to extremity, it is said, had not T. Quintius interposed, and with great difficulty parted the combatants. This, however, appears to be one of the usual softenings of the annals, which delighted to invest these early times with a character of romantic forbearance and innocence. Both parties were thoroughly in earnest: Lætorius had received such injuries as to rouse the fury of the commons to the utmost; again had the sacred persons of the tribunes been profaned by violence, and Lætorius might soon share the fate of Genucius. Accordingly the commons acted this time on the offensive; they neither withdrew to the Sacred Hill, nor shut themselves up in their own quarter on the Aventine, but they attacked and occupied as the Capitol, and held it for some time as a fortress, keeping regular guard, under the command of their tribunes, both night and day. The occupation of the citadel in the ancient Commonwealths implied an attempt to effect a revolution ; and a popular tribune thus holding the Capitol with his partizans might, at any instant, make himself absolute, and establish his tyranny, like so many of the popular leaders in Greece, upon the ruins of the old


25 Dionysius, IX. 48.

24 Livy, II. 56. VOL. I.


CHAP. aristocracy. The senate, therefore, and the wiser

consul, T. Quintius, resisted the violent counsels of Appius and the mass of the burghers; it was resolved that the law, which we must suppose had been passed by the commons immediately before they took possession of the Capitol, should be immediately laid before the senate, to receive the assent of that body. It received the senate's sanction 26, and with this double authority it was brought before the burghers in their curiæ, to receive their consent also; the only form wanting to give it the force of a law. But the decision of the wisest and most illustrious members of their own body overcame the obstinacy of the burghers; they yielded to necessity; and the second great charter of Roman liberties, the Publilian Law, was finally carried, and became the law of the land. Some said that even the number of tribunes was now for the first time raised to five, having consisted hitherto of two only. At any rate the names of the first five tribunes, freely chosen by their own order, were handed down to posterity; they were C. Siccius 27, L. Numitorius, M. Duilius, Sp. Icilius, and L. Mæcilius.

In this list we meet with neither Volero nor Lætorius. Volero, as having been already tribune for two years together, and having been less prominent in the final struggle, may naturally have been passed over; but Lætorius, like Sextius at a later period, would surely have been the first choice of the com

26 Dionysius, IX. 49. 27 Livy, II. 58. He borrows the names from the annals of Piso.


mons, when they came to exercise a power which CHAP. they owed mainly to his exertions. Was it then that his own words had been prophetic; that he had in fact given up his life in the forum on the day when he brought forward the law; that the blows of Appius' burghers were as deadly as those of Kæso Quinctius, or of the murderers of Genucius, and that Lætorius was not only the founder of the greatness of his order, but its martyr also ?

Thus after a period of extreme depression and danger, the commons had again begun to advance, and the Publilian Law, going beyond any former charter, was a sure warrant for a more complete enfranchisement yet to come. The commons could now elect their tribunes freely, and they had formally obtained the right of discussing all national questions in their own assembly. Thus their power spread itself out on every side, and tried its strength, against that time when from being independent, it aspired to become sovereign, and swallowed up in itself all the powers of the rest of the community.





“ Pandite punc Helicona Deæ, cantusque movete :

Qui bello exciti reges; quæ quemque secutæ
Complerint campos acies ; quibus Itala jam tum
Floruerit terra alma viris, quibus arserit armis.”

Virgil, Æn. VII. 641.


CHAP. NOTHING conveys a juster notion of the greatness of

- Roman history than those chapters in Gibbon's work, Introduction to the in which he brings before us the state of the east foreign history of and of the north, of Persia and of Germany, and is Rome.

led unavoidably to write an universal history, because all nations were mixed up with the greatness and the decline of Rome. This indeed is the peculiar magnificence of our subject, that the history of Rome must be in some sort the history of the world; no nation, no language, no country of the ancient world, can altogether escape our researches, if we follow on steadily the progress of the Roman dominion till it reached its greatest extent. On this vast field we are now beginning to enter ; our view must be car

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