Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAP. for a time the question of the Terentilian law, and XIII. v to endeavour to obtain at once for their order the

secure and exclusive property of the Aventine. New mode A new course 41 was also adopted in the conduct of proceeding to pro- of this measure. Instead of bringing it forward first cure the passing of before the commons, where its consideration might the law.

be indefinitely delayed by the violent interruptions of the burghers, L. Icilius called upon the consuls to bring it in the first instance before the senate, and he claimed himself to speak as counsel in its behalf. This was asserting not merely the right of petitioning, but the still higher right, that the petition should not be simply laid on the table, but that counsel should be heard in defence of it, and its prayer immediately taken into consideration. A story is told that the consuls' lictor 42 insolently beat away the tribune's officer who was going to carry to them his message; that immediately Icilius and his colleagues seized the lictor, and dragged him off with their own hands, intending to throw him from the rock for his treason against the sacred laws. They spared his life only at the intercession of some of the oldest of the senators, but they insisted that the consuls should comply with the demands of Icilius; and accordingly the senate was summoned, Icilius laid before them what may be called his petition of right, and they proceeded to vote whether they

should accept or reject it 48. The law is The majority voted in its favour, moved, it is said, passed. 41 Dionysius, X. 31.

43 Dionysius, X. 32. 42 Dionysius, X. 31.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

XIII.

by the hope that this concession would be accepted CHAP. by the commons instead of the execution of the agrarian law. Then the measure thus passed by the senate was submitted by the consuls to the comitia of centuries, which, as representing the whole nation, might supersede the necessity of bringing it separately before the curiæ and the tribes. Introduced in a manner by the government, and supported by the influence of many of the burghers as well as by the strong feeling of the commons, the bill became a law: its importance, moreover, led to its being confirmed with unusual solemnities; the pontifices and augurs attended; sacrifices were performed, and solemn oaths were taken to observe it; and as a further security, it was engraved on a pillar of brass, and then set up in the temple of Diana on the Aventine, where it remained till the time of Dionysius.

The provisions of the law were, “ that so much ** of Its prothe Aventine hill as was public or demesne property, should be allotted out to the commons, to be their freehold for ever. That all occupiers of this land should relinquish their occupation of it; that those who had occupied it forcibly or fraudulently 45, should have no compensation, but that other occupiers should be repaid for the money which they might have laid out in building upon it, at a fair estimate,

s pr

isions.

44 Dionysius, X. 32.

well-known form of the prætor's 45 In Dionysius' Greek version, interdict, “eum fundum quem Bellaouévoi, (or with the Codex nec vi, nec clam, nec precario Vaticanus Biao huevot,) klor alter ab altero possidetis, ita posdaßóvres: in the original lan- sideatis." See Festus in “ Posguage “vi aut clam," as in the sessio.”

XIII.

CHAP. to be fixed by arbitration.” Probably also, as Niebuhr

thinks, there was a clause forbidding any burgher to purchase or inherit property on the hill, that it might be kept exclusively for the commons. It is mentioned that the commons began instantly to take possession of their grant, and the space not sufficing to give each man a separate plot of ground, an allotment was given to two, three, or more persons together, who then built upon it a house with as many flats or stories 46 as their number required, each man having one floor for himself and family as his freehold. The work of building sufficiently employed the commons for the rest of the year; the Terentilian law was allowed to rest; and an unusual rainy season which was very fatal to the crops *7, may have helped to suspend the usual hostilities with the Æquians and

Volscians. Fresh dis- The same tribunes were re-elected for the year the Teren- following, and the Terentilian law was now again tilian law.

brought forward, but still as formerly before the

COL

on

putes about

46 Dionysius, X. 32. Houses nis, circuituque publico aut prithus divided amongst several vato cinguntur," seems to show proprietors, each being the owner that the insula was ordinarily of a single floor, were the Evvolkial built like our colleges, or like the of the Greeks ; and these were inns of court in London, a comthe “insulæ" of which we hear plete building in itself, and so at Rome, and which are distin- large as to occupy the whole space guished by Tacitus from “do- from one street to the next which mus,” the houses of a single pro- ran parallel to it. prietor, just as Thucydides speaks 47 Livy, III. 31. Annonâ propof the rich Corcyræans setting on ter aquarum intemperiem laboraGre τας οικίας και τας ξυνοικίας, tum est. Such notices of the III. 74. Compare Tacitus, Annal. weather and seasons come from XV. 41. 43. The original sense the oldest and simplest annals, of the word “insula” as given by whether of the pontifices or of Festus, “ quæ non junguntur private families, and may safely be communibus parietibus cum vici. looked upon as authentic.

XIII.

assembly of the tribes; its rejection by the senate CHAP. being supposed to be certain, if it were proposed 4 there in the first instance. The consuls 48 headed the burghers in their opposition, and in their attempts to interrupt the assembly of the commons by violence; the tribunes in return brought some of the offenders to trial for a breach of the sacred laws, and not wishing to press for the severest punishment, enforced, according to Dionysius, only the confiscation of the criminal's property to Ceres, whose temple was under the special control of the ædiles of the commons, and was the treasury of their order. But the burghers, it is said, advanced money out of their own treasury to buy the confiscated estates from those who had purchased them, and then gave them back to their original owners.

The consuls of the year 300, Sp. Tarpeius and

48 Dionysius, X. 33–42. The violent against the commons, and events of this year are given by most formidable from the strength Dionysius at great length, in of their brotherhoods, or societies, fifteen chapters ; in Livy they do étaipiai, were the Postumii, Semnot occupy as many lines. The pronii, and Clælii. The former of story of L. Siccius, under a some- these was an unpopular house, as what different form, is given by may be seen from the story of the the former under this year; al severity of L. Postumius Tuberthough in its common version it tus to his son, (Livy, IV. 29,) occurs again in his history in its and of the murder of M. Postuusual place under the decemviri. mius by his soldiers (Livy, IV. Whoever was the writer from 49). The Sempronii also appear wbom Dionysius copied, he must as a family of importance during have been one who had no wish the next fifty years; but the to disguise the injustice of the Clælii are very little distinguished burghers, but rather perhaps to either in the early or in the later exaggerate it; for they never Roman history, only four memappear in a more odious light bers of this house occurring in than in the transactions of this the Fasti, and none of them being year. One statement however is personally remarkable. Their coins curious ; that the houses most however are numerous.

XIII.

The Ater

“ de multæ sacramento."

CHAP. A. Aternius, appear to have been moderate men; and

- not only were the two consuls of the preceding year nian law, accused before the commons by the tribunes, and

fined, without any opposition on the part of the burghers, but the new consuls themselves brought forward a law, which was intended probably to meet some of the objects of the Terentilian law, by limiting the arbitrary jurisdiction of the patrician magistrates. The Aternian law 49, de multæ sacramento, fixed the maximum of the fines which the consuls could impose for a contempt of their authority, at two sheep and thirty oxen; nor could this whole fine be imposed at once 50, but the magistrate was to begin with one sheep, and if the offender continued obstinate, he might the next day fine him a second sheep, and the third day he might raise the penalty to the value of an ox, and thus go on day by day, till he had reached the utmost extent allowed by the law. It would appear also by the use of the term sacramentum"), which was applied to money deposited in the judge's hands by two contending parties, to be forfeited or recovered according to the issue of the suit, that this fine was not absolute, but might be recovered by the party who had paid it, either on his subsequent submission, or on his appeal to the

49 Cicero, de Republicâ, II. 35. fragments of the Fasti CapitoThe reading of the consul's name, lini. as given in this passage of Cicero, 50 See Varro, de Ling. Latina, Aternius, enables us to account V. 177, and Niebuhr, Vol. II. p. for and to correct the corrupt 341. 2nd ed. reading in Dionysius, Tepunvios. 51 See Varro, de Ling. Lat. V. We find it also correctly given 180, and Festus in voce. in one of the recently-discovered

« PreviousContinue »