« НазадПродовжити »
was especially heightened by the clashing interests of the two orders in every province of 'the Commonwealth. If the governor from the Senate sought to reap a fortune in the year of his authority, the publicans, from the Knights, were as eager to turn their speculation in the provincial taxes to the best account; and close along the vile exactions of the one, so close as to interfere with and sometimes to stay their course altogether, those of the other party were pressed with equal cupidity. Servilius Cæpio was too successful in the rapine of his proconsulship to be spared by those whose gains had been curtailed, dr by others whose rapacity had simply been outdone by his extortions. He was one of the two generals together brushed aside by the barbarians 58 then thronging through the centre and the west of Europe; and his defeat by them, as well as his plunder of the Gauls, being some years afterward charged upon him, he was sentenced by the Knights — to whom the judicial powers, formerly conveyed by his law to the Senate, had since recurred — to death or exile,59 although the members of his party made every effort to procure his acquittal.60 The secret of his condem
58 Liv., Epit. LXVII. His plun- A. C. 95, and then evidently for der of Tolosa was one of the most party reasons. Licinius Crassus, extraordinary acts of pillage com- the same who spoke in behalf of his mitted even in the Roman provinces. law, was his advocate at the trial. Dion Cass., Fragm. XCVII. Jus- 60 Cicero (De Orat., II. 47) gives tin., XXXII. 3.
an account of the tumultuous scenes 59 Val. Max., VI. 9. 13, IV. 7. at the trial. 3. His goods were confiscated and Another instance of the extraorhis Imperium withdrawn immedi- dinary lawlessness of the times ately after the defeat. Liv., Epit. is related in Diod. Sic., Reliq., LXVII. But he was not tried until XXXVI. 2.
nation, however, lay, not merely in any provocation he might have given to the opposing faction, either at home or in his province, but in the offence of which, in being routed by the barbarians, he was guilty towards the Commonwealth.
For the spirit of earlier generations to uphold the majesty of Rome was very far from being extinct; and though the preceding relations, if properly strung together, form something like a rosary upon which the frailties and the sins of the governing classes may be told, the very men who erred the most were, perhaps, the loudest in their professions of obedience, more rarely of penitence. It was this very union of avowed uprightness with equally avowed transgression that hastened, nay, that actually wrought, the decay of liberty in Rome.
The efforts of the Gracchi, to them so fatal and to the Commonwealth so vain, did not preclude the attempt or the pretence of some further repairs upon the enfeebled constitution of the people and their government. These later reforms, to which a different name may soon appear to be more appropriate, will complete the history of the period here marked by the name of Marius.
In the year of his second consulship, over which we passed as if the account of his preparations against the barbarians were all that it required, three Tribunes undertook, as it seemed at first, to walk in the footsteps of the benevolent and courageous men who
61 A. C. 104.
had preceded them, in pursuing such projects of general amelioration as they could conceive. The people, in contradistinction to the aristocracy, of Rome were now so thinned and changed, that there were few, perhaps none, in the Forum whose forefathers had taken part in the great contest between the estates of former centuries; but though their elevation, as new-comers at various seasons, and from different parts of Italy, was far more impracticable than the regeneration of a mass of genuine Plebeians, there was something to give them hope in the tribuneship of Marcius, Cassius, and Domitius. Marcius Philippus, declaring, as one stung by remorse, that there were not two thousand citizens in all who had any thing to call their own,62 endeavoured to revive the Agrarian law, whose vitality had long before departed, even if its memory were not totally extinct. Cassius Longinus procured a law, that no Senator should preserve his rank, and no general retain his commission, after having been found guilty of any charge on public trial.63 And Domitius Ahenobarbus, on his part, proposed and carried a bill by which the election of the priests, hitherto chosen by their several colleges, should be committed to the people. 64 It is only by discovering the impulses of these Tribunes that their measures are reduced to the poor valuation they deserve. Domitius desired to secure his
62 Cic., De Off., II. 21.
tempt had been made before. See 63 Cie., Pro C. Corn., Fragm. I., Book II. ch. 14, p. 195. The with Asconius's commentary. colleges still preserved the form of
64 Vell. Pat., II. 12. The at- coöptation, as it was called.
with Asconipat., 11. 1
own election to the pontificate ; 65 Cassius wished to satisfy a grudge he bore to Cæpio, just then disgraced by public act on account of his proconsulship; while Marcius Philippus, so soon as he found his agrarian projects were unacceptable, abandoned them as though he had done wrong in bringing them forward.
In the same year of these pretences on the part of the three Tribunes, a young man of eminent birth was removed by order of the Senate from the quæstorship he held at Ostia, a post of great importance in relation to the public supplies of grain. The Quæstor thus publicly ejected was Lucius Appuleius Saturninus, to whom the affront, however deserved by luxuriousness or inactivity, was intolerable. He had wealth, eloquence,66 above all, unfailing audacity, to bear him on; and as soon as he was cut adrift, as it were, by the aristocracy, to which he had hitherto, somewhat restlessly perhaps, adhered, he shaped his course to hinder theirs, and, as it proved, to run them down.
The party of the populace, scarcely meriting the name they bear in history, of the democracy, were soon persuaded by Saturninus to favor his daring enterprise ; and he was by them elected Tribune, 67 the first of a new line. In consequence of some violent disputes between him and the aristocracy, as
65 Liv., Epit. LXVII. Val. Max., 67 For A. C. 102. “Per ignoVI. 5. 5.
miniam,” ..... as Cicero describes 66 “ Seditiosorum omnium post him, “ scimus dolore factum esse Gracchos L. App. Saturninus elo- popularem." Pro Sext., 17. De quentissimus visus est.” Cic., Harusp. Resp., 20. Brut., 62.
well as on account of his personal profligacy, and perhaps, also, of some private dissensions,68 Saturninus was marked by the Censor, Metellus Numidicus, for expulsion from the Senate, to which he belonged by virtue of his quæstorship and tribunate. The colleague of Metellus saved the Tribune from the reproach of a second public dishonor; but Saturninus, who appears to have been as keenly exasperated as if his enemies had again disgraced him, was only the more eager in his union, or, as it might be styled, his conspiracy, with the populace to bring Metellus and all upon that side, if not to shame, at least to ruin. The year after his narrow escape from degradation, he came forward as a candidate for a second tribuneship; and though brought to trial, on the charge of some public outrage,69 before judges who were his adversaries, the violent demonstrations of his followers procured his acquittal, and were on the point of carrying his election besides, when a sudden turn, either in favor of his opponents or in their tactics, threw him out of the number of successful candidates, and left him to all appearance incapacitated for further sedition. But Saturninus, instead of being dejected by a reverse he could not have anticipated, resolved upon fiercer steps, and actually murdered one of the Tribunes elect, to
68 Oros., V. 17.
70 A. Nonius. Plut., Mar., 29. 69 of having insulted some am- Appian says (Bell. Civ., I. 28) that bassadors who came from Mithri- he was murdered by the partisans dates with bribes rather than pro- of his rival. posals to leading Senators. Diod. Sic., Reliq., XXXVI. 15.