« НазадПродовжити »
its ravages, Lucius Manlius Capitolinus was solemnly appointed Dictator, to fulfil the religious ceremony2 in which, it was believed, lay the only hope of checking their fearful progress. The remedy proved nearly as bad as the disease; and the name of Imperiosus, the Imperious, which Manlius bore or then acquired, was well deserved by his arbitrary attempts to retain and enforce his authority beyond the occasion for which it had been conferred. His violence went so far as to furnish the grounds of a prosecution instituted the next year by Marcus Pomponius, a Tribune, who, in the course of his suit, insisted not only upon the public misconduct of the Dictator, but more particularly upon the cruelty of which Manlius was guil ty in private, towards his own son Titus, whom he kept removed from the opportunities and honors proper to his rank and age. The younger Manlius, then in the country, no sooner heard of the accusation brought against his father, than he hastened to Rome, and, obtaining access to Pomponius, extorted from him, under threat of instant death, the promise of dropping the charges he had made. It was not behaving, as the historian declares, much like a peaceable cit
2 Which was nothing more than Livy (VII. 6) also assigns the driving the Yearly Nail, usually legend of Marcus Curtius to the driven by some other magistrate or same period of the plague. His priest, into the wall of the temple of, plunge into the yawning gulf, for Jupiter. Liv., VII. 3.
the sake of Rome, was but an A festival, at which stage-plays, imaginary instance of the actual ludi scenici, were for the first time and active patriotism of his countryintroduced, was a part of the means men. Val. Max., V. 6. 2. Plin., employed to appease the gods. Nat. Hist., XV. 20. Liv., VII. 2.
izen, but the action of the young man was so commendable for its filial piety in the eyes of the people, that the father was acquitted, and the son advanced to a post of distinction in the army. In after years, when Titus Manlius had become a great general, and the father of a grown-up son, from whom he seemed to exact the penalty of his own early trials,4 he was invested, as Consul, with the command of an army against the Latins, then in arms. On approaching the enemy, the Consul prohibited his men from personal encounters or endeavours to distinguish themselves, before the action, momentarily expected, should be commenced. His son, however, was tempted by a challenge from a foe to disobedience; and though he triumphed, he was delivered, by his father's commands, to the executioner. The elder men in Rome commended the ferocious deed; but whether it were called, as by them, a triumph of law, or, as by the companions of the murdered youth, an outrage upon humanity, it equally appears to have been one of those examples which compel all bonds of affection and of obedience to be torn to shreds at last.
Nothing remains, at this epoch, more serviceable to the conceptions we have to form respecting the liberty of Rome, than the constant recurrence of complaints about debts and pecuniary difficulties. It
3 “ Non civilis exempli ..... ty-one years after his deliverance of consilium.” Liv., VII. 5.
his father. 4 “ Perindulgens in patrem, idem 5 Liv., VIII. 7. App., Reb. acerbe severus in filium.” Cic., Samnit., III. De Off., III. 31. This was twen 6 Liv., VIII. 12.
must have been a narrow and a troubled life that men were leading, where the want of a little money was always quickly felt, and often ultimately fatal; nor could the possession of any freedom be sufficient to domestic happiness or general prosperity, so long as it was liable to be endangered and actually lost by poverty. The humility of the city becomes more apparent as we reflect upon the straitened means of its people; and whether we cross the private threshold or seek the open thoroughfare, the eye meets no magnificence, except, perhaps, in the temple or on the Capitoline, and nowhere sees the signs of any real or comprehensive civilization. This glimpse is imaginary; but it is obtained through the casements which history opens in recording, at one time, a bill to secure the operation of the law concerning interest, — at another, the appointment of bankers, or commissioners of insolvency, to bring about the settlement of all outstanding obligations, — and again, within a few years, the reduction of interest, and the division of debts into such portions as would facilitate their payment at maturity. Instead of the debtors being left to the mercy of their creditors, they seem to have been actually protected by interferences of the magistrates in their behalf; 10 which, taken together with the enactments just recounted, shows forth a very different spirit amongst the rich, as amongst the poor, after the passage of the Licinian laws, from that which had previously considered the debtor to be unworthy of any positive consideration, much more of any positive assistance. At the same time, the greater willingness to make the laws serve the debtor as well as the creditor is only further proof of the fact already indicated, that the Commonwealth was really full of needy citizens.
7 Liv., VII. 16.
10 As we gather from a single 8 The commissioners were five mention made by Livy (VII. 28) of in number, and were called Mensa- prosecutions against usurers conrii. Liv., VII. 21.
ducted by the Ædiles. 9 Liv., VII. 27.
The difficulties between the poor and the rich were often undoubtedly aggravated by the altercations of the Patricians and the Plebeians. Even while Lucius Sextius was in office, the party over whom he seemed to have decisively triumphed succeeded in hindering the course of all those public affairs from the administration of which he might derive the opportunity of renown." His successor, Genucius, being elected a second time to the consulship, and then defeated and slain in battle, was declared by the Patricians to have fallen by the wrath of the gods,12 who were indignant at the elevation of such men to be their ministers and the rulers of their people. The consular elections, continually interrupted, became, in the course of a few years, such scenes of disturbance, as to make all parties glad of a law which was introduced apparently under color of preserving order and honesty in the elective assemblies, but which really contained some provisions adverse to the interests of the Plebeian candidates.13 At nearly the same time that Licinius Stolo was condemned by one of his own laws, another was violated by the choice of two Patricians as Consuls, in the midst of anger on the part of the Plebeians, and proportionate scorn from the higher estate, which seemed again on the point of obtaining the upperhand. 14
11 Quum de industria omnia, ne quid per plebeium consulem ageretur, proferrentur, silentium omnium rerum ac justitio simile otium fuit.” Liv., VII. 1.
12 Liv., VII. 6.
13 This is a conjectural account of the law called the Pætelian, which is described by Livy as directed against the practice of can
Nor was it only by such means as these that resistance appears to have been made to the political liberty of the Plebeians. One Consul, Cneius Manlius Capitolinus, persuaded or forced the army he commanded to pass a law which he proposed to them, as if legally assembled for that purpose; and though his professed design was only to lay a public tax on liberated slaves, 15 it was too evidently suggested by the envy he bore to Marcius Rutilus, his Plebeian colleague, who, more successful than himself in the year's campaign, had gained great spoils and numbers of captives, whose ransoms, whether taxed or untaxed, would be the most valuable part of his and his sol. diers' booty. The Senate 16 confirmed the strange proceeding, probably because it suited the policy which the majority of that body were then inclined to pursue with regard to the Plebeians and their magistrates; it seeming, doubtless, a very clever expedient that Manlius had adopted in employing the votes of the soldiers who had sworn him obedience to mortify his colleague. But the Tribunes of the Plebeians com
vassing for an election, in order, as 15 “ De vicesima eorum qui mathe historian savs, to lessen the numitterentur." Liv., VII. 16. chances of the Plebeian candidates. 16 Or the Curies, or both. “ PaLiv., VII. 15.
tres auctores fuerunt.” Liv., VII. 14 Liv., VII. 18.