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early history became more and more romantic, would CHAP. omit whatever seemed inconsistent with the supposed purity and nobleness of the times of their forefathers; and acts of bloody vengeance, which the actors themselves, and their immediate descendants, regarded with pride rather than compunction, as Sulla gloried in his proscriptions and recorded them on his monument, were carefully suppressed by historians of a later age. The burghers of the third and fourth centuries thought it no dishonour that their own daggers 34, or those of their faithful clients, should have punished with death the insolence and turbulence of the most obstinate of the commons; they would glory in breaking up the assemblies of · their adversaries by main force, and in treating them on other occasions with all possible scorn and contumely; ejecting them from their houses 35 with a strong hand; insulting them and their families in their nightly revels, or in open day; abusing them in the streets, or besetting their doors 36 with armed slaves and carrying off their wives and daughters 37.
34 Zonaras, VII. 17, who, as we sessam a familiâ armatâ nunciaret, now find, borrowed his statement ferendum auxilium putaretis." from Dion Cassius. Dion's words The conduct of Verres at Lampare, oi eutatpidal pavepôs uèy oủ sacus illustrates this; from the tráv, aanv Bpayéwv, érridelácovtés treatment of the provincials in the Tiva, ártér Pattov, Nápa dè ouxvous later times of the Commonwealth, T@v Opaoutátwv éPóvevov. Fragm. we may judge of that shown to Vatic. XXII.
the commons at an earlier period. 35 This is implied in the “for 37 The famous story of Virginia cible occupation” noticed in the cannot have been a solitary inlaw, " de Aventino publicando.” stance. Virginia was the daughter
34 Such outrages must be al- of a centurion, and betrothed to luded to in the speech ascribed to no less a man than L. Icilius, the L. Quinctius, Livy, III. 19. “Si famous proposer of the law, “de quis ex plebe domum suam ob- Aventino publicando.” If such
CHAP. Their own houses, built mostly on the hills of Rome,
- which were so many separate fortresses, and always
by their style of building secure at once from public notice and from attack, favoured the perpetration of all acts of violence. Others besides insolvent debtors might be shut up in their dungeons; and if hatred or fear prompted them to consign their victims to a yet surer keeping, the dungeon might readily become a grave S, and who would dare to search for those whom it contained, whether alive or
dead? Obscure One act in particular, in which its authors doubtthe burning less gloried as in a signal example of public justice, of nine men as traitors. has been so concealed by the later annalists, that
from the faint and confused notices of it which alone remain to us, we can neither discover its date, nor its cause, nor any of its particulars. We only know that at some time or other during the latter half of the third century of Rome, nine eminent men 39
an outrage could be ventured 3. 2); and the mutilated passage in against a woman of such birth and Festus, beginning in the common so connected, we may conceive editions with “Nauti consulatu," what those of humbler condition must clearly refer to it. Niebuhr's were exposed to.
restoration and explanation of 38 The body of a murdered man this last fragment may be found was discovered to have been bu- in his note 265 to the 2nd volume ried in the house of P. Sestius, of his History, p. 144, 2nd edia burgher, in the first year of the tion. Both are highly ingenious, decemvirate. Livy, III 33. The and that the fragment began with discovery of one such case implies the word “novem," and not with that there were many others which “ nauti," seems certain; inaswere not discovered.
much as the article before it be39 'Evvéa Totè dńuapxou trupi ÚTÒ gins with the word “novalis," Toù oņuov +86Ongay. Dion Cassius, and that which follows it begins Frag. Vatic. XXII and copied by with “novendiales." All the words Zonaras, VII. 17. A confused now to be found in the MS. of vestige of the same story may be Festus, half of the page having found in Valerius Maximus (VI. been accidentally destroyed by
who advocated the cause of the commons were CHAP. burned alive in the circus, such being the old punishment of the worst traitors. It appears, however, from the fragment of Festus, which undoubt
fire, are the following, and ranged The story in Valerius Maximus in the following order as to represents one tribune as being lines :
a principal agent in the execution
of his nine colleagues. We can T. Sicini Volsci
thus explain the position of the inissent adversus
name of Sicinius, if we read, “noco combusti feruntur vem collegæ T. Sicinii Volsci," and ne quae est proxime cir “ cum conjurationem” (or “conpide albo constratus. silia”) “inissent adversus Remp.”
Opiter Verginius But what are we to call the office Lævinus, Postumus Co in which these ten men were col. llius Tolerinus, P. Ve leagues together? Can it really
onius Atratinus, Ver have been the tribuneship? and tius Scaevola, Sex: Fu are we to take Cicero's statement,
in the fragments of his speech for Who can profess to fill up such a Cornelius, that the number of fragment with certainty? But I tribunes was increased from two observe that Mutius Scævola be- to ten in the very year after the longed to a house which, so far first institution of the office ? and as we know, was never patrician: is it possible that the patricians and the preceding name of which named in Festus' Fragment were only the first syllable remains, the very persons whom Dion Ver-, may also have denoted a Cassius had in his mind, when plebeian, as we meet with a Vir- he said that “ many of the highest ginius amongst the tribunes as patricians renounced their nobiearly as the year 293. (Livy, III. lity from being ambitious of the 11.) But as all the others are great power of the office, and patrician names, how can they became tribunes ?" If this were have been tribunes ; or how can so, T. Sicinius Volscus would be there have been nine tribunes a member of the house of the earlier than the year 297 ; or how plebeian Sicinii, and not the pa. can we find a place for such an trician who was consul in the event between 297 and the ap- year 267. The time of the expointment of the decemviri ; after écution I should place about the which time it becomes wholly in- same time as the death of Cassius ; conceivable? The words "adver- and it is not incredible that even sarii” and “adversus eum" seem the people in their centuries may to me the most unlikely parts of have believed that accusation of Niebuhr's conjectural addition. The a conspiracy against the common criminals would hardly have been liberty which was brought against described simply as the adversa- Cassius, and may have sentenced ries of T. Sicinius, nor their crime nine of the tribunes to death as called a conspiracy against him. his accomplices, especially if one
allotting out the
CHAP. edly relates to this event, that some of the victims in
this execution were of patrician houses; and there is an obscure and corrupt passage of Dion Cassius in the Vatican fragments, which seems to indicate that some of the burghers did take part with the commons, whether from a sense of justice or from
personal ambition. A.U.C. 298. The year 298, to return to our annals, was marked Law of L. on the part of the tribunes by an important measure. Icilius for
First of all “0, to prevent their increased number Aventine from being a source of weakness, by making differ
ences amongst themselves more likely, they bound themselves to each other by solemn oaths, that no tribune should oppose the decisions of the majority of his colleagues, nor act without their consent. Then Lucius Icilius, one of their number, brought forward his famous law for allotting the whole of the Aventine hill to the commons for ever, to be their exclusive quarter and stronghold. This hill was not, as we have seen, a part of the original city, nor was
to the commons.
of their own colleagues, and a maining accounts are full of variagenuine plebeian, had denounced tions. Sempronius Atratinus is them as being really enemies to mentioned by Dionysius as speakliberty under the mask of oppo- ing in favour of the appointment sing the aristocracy. And such a of a commission of ten men to circumstance as the alleged trea. carry into effect the proposed agra. son of nine out of ten of the rian law of Cassius, at least in a tribunes would have afforded a modified form; this was in the good pretence for again reducing year 268. (Dionysius, VIII. 74.) I their number to two or five, from have sometimes thought whether which it was again finally raised the nine men may not have been to ten in the year 297. It must members of this commission, and be remembered that the whole accused by their tenth colleague, period between the first institu- T. Sicinius, the patrician, of tion of the tribuneship, and the abusing their powers to favour death of Cassius, is one of the the tyranny of Cassius. greatest obscurity, and that the re- 40 Dionysius, X. 31.
it even yet included within the pomærium, or re- CHAP. ligious boundary, although it was now within the walls; much of it was public or demesne land, having neither been divided out among the original citizens, the burghers, nor having in later times been assigned in portions to any of the commons. The ground, which was thus still public, was occupied according to custom by individual burghers; some had built on it, but parts of it were still in their natural state and overgrown with wood. Yet this hill was the principal quarter in which the commons lived, and large parts of it had doubtless been assigned to them in the time of the kings, as the freeholds of those to whom they were granted. It appears that encroachments were made on these freeholds by the burghers; that the landmarks, which, according to Roman usage, always distinguished private property from common, were from time to time forcibly or fraudulently removed; the ground was then claimed as public, and as such occupied only by burghers; and in this way the ejectment of the commons, from what they considered as their own hill, seemed likely to be accomplished. Again, the Aventine is one of the steepest and strongest of the hills of Rome; if wholly in the hands of the commons, it would give them a stronghold of their own, such as the burghers enjoyed in the other hills; and this, in such stormy times, when the dissensions between the orders might at any instant break out into open war, was a consideration of the highest importance. Such were the reasons which induced the tribunes to suspend