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CHAP. was the gens or house, an union of several families ~ who were bound together by the joint performance

of certain religious rites. Actually, where a system of houses has existed within historical memory, the several families who composed a house were not necessarily related to one another; they were not really cousins more or less distant, all descended from a common ancestor. But there is no reason to doubt that in the original idea of a house, the bond of union between its several families was truly sameness of blood : such was likely to be the earliest acknowledged tie; although afterwards, as names are apt to outlive their meanings, an artificial bond may have succeeded to the natural one; and a house, instead of consisting of families of real relations, was made up sometimes of families of strangers, whom it was proposed to bind together by a fictitious tie, in the hope that law, and custom, and religion, might together

rival the force of nature. The houses Thus the state being made up of families, and and their

every family consisting from the earliest times of members and dependents, the original inhabitants of Rome belonged all to one of two classes : they were either members of a family; and, if so, members of a house, of a curia, of a tribe, and so, lastly, of the state: or they were dependents on a family; and, if so, their relation went no further than the immediate aggregate of families, that is, the house: with the curia, with the tribe, and with the state, they had no connexion.

These members of families were the original citi



mons, or


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zens of Rome; these dependents on families were CHAP. the original clients.

The idea of clientship is that of a wholly private The comrelation; the clients were something to their re- plebs. spective patrons, but to the state they were nothing. But wherever states composed in this manner, of a body of houses with their clients, had been long established, there grew up amidst, or close beside them, created in most instances by conquest, a population of a very distinct kind. Strangers might come to live in the land, or more commonly the inhabitants of a neighbouring district might be conquered, and united with their conquerors as a subject people. Now this population had no connexion with the houses separately, but only with a state composed of those houses: this was wholly a political, not a domestic relation; it united personal and private liberty with political subjection. This inferior population possessed property, regulated their own municipal as well as domestic affairs, and as free men fought in the armies of what was now their common country. But, strictly, they were not its citizens; they could not intermarry with the houses; they could not belong to the state, for they belonged to no house, and therefore to no curia, and no tribe; consequently they had no share in the state's government, nor in the state's property. What the state conquered in war became the property of the state, and therefore they had no claim to it; with the state demesne, with whatever in short belonged to the state

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CHAP. in its aggregate capacity, these, as being its neighbours - merely, and not its members, had no concern.

Such an inferior population, free personally, but subject politically, not slaves, yet not citizens, was

the original Plebs, the commons of Rome. Their settle- The mass of the Roman commons were conquered Aventine Latins. These, besides receiving grants of a portion

of their former lands, to be held by them as Roman citizens, had also the hill Aventinus assigned as a residence to those of them who removed to Rome. The Aventine was without the walls, although so near to them : thus the commons were, even in the nature of their abode, like the Pfalburger of the middle ages,-men not admitted to live within the city,

but enjoying its protection against foreign enemies. Members It will be understood at once, that whatever is houses were said of the people in these early times, refers only

to the full citizens, that is, to the members of the houses. The assembly of the people was the assembly of the curiæ; that is, the great council of the members of the houses; while the senate, consisting of two hundred senators, chosen in equal numbers from the two higher tribes of the Ramnenses and

Titienses, was their smaller or ordinary council. The king's The power of the king was as varied and ill dethe citizens, fined as in the feudal monarchies of the middle ages. commons. Over the commons he was absolute; but over the

real people, that is, over the houses, his power was

of the

the only citizens.

power over

and over the commons.

6 See Niebuhr's chapter “Die Gemeinde und die plebeischen Tribus.”

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absolute only in war, and without the city. Within the walls every citizen was allowed to appeal from the king, or his judges, to the sentence of his peers; that is, to the great council of the curiæ. The king had his demesne lands’, and in war would receive his portion of the conquered land, as well as of the spoil of moveables.

7 Cicero de Republicâ, V. 3.




- Muros, arcemque procul, ac rara domorum
Tecta vident.-
Hoc nemus, hunc, inquit, frondoso vertice collem,
Quis Deus incertum est, habitat Deus.”

Virgil, Æn. VIII.


Early state


CHAP. If it is hard to carry back our ideas of Rome from

its actual state to the period of its highest splendour, of the city of it is yet harder to go back in fancy to a time still

more distant, a time earlier than the beginning of its authentic history, before man's art had completely rescued the very soil of the future city from the dominion of nature. Here also it is vain to attempt accuracy in the details, or to be certain that the several features in our description all existed at the same period. It is enough if we can image to ourselves some likeness of the original state of Rome, before the undertaking of those great works which

are ascribed to the later kings. The original The Pomarium of the original city on the Pala

tine, as described by Tacitus ', included not only the


1 Tacitus, Annal. XII. 24.-It his description, that the consecrais evident, by the minuteness of ted limits of the original city had

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