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prepared against the claims that might be made upon their compassion or their justice.
Somewhere about the present period, there occurred a change in the organization of the assembly of Centuries, concerning which, however, there is but little, if any thing, really known.63 It seems to have consisted in substituting the Tribes in place of the classes, according to which the Centuries were previously enrolled; but, as the assembly still continued aristocratical, in contrast with the more democratical assembly of the Tribes, the alteration may be believed to have been but one of form. The Curies, on the other hand, long before assailed, received their mortal wound from the Mænian law, and, in the course of a few years, were simply represented at the elections by a band of thirty lictors, in whom their name and their number were supposed to be perpetuated.
Other institutions and other doctrines, over whose fall there would or ought to have been more rejoicing than could have been provoked by that of the broken-down Curies, still kept their ground. In the year after the consulship of Lucius Volumnius,64 a time was set apart, by order of the Senate, for solemn devotions, in consequence of many strange presages that had been observed and feared. In the season of supplication, the wife of Volumnius, by name Virginia, a woman of the highest birth, came to the tem
64 Therefore, A. C. 295.
63 See the honest discussion of the whole question in the second Appendix to Arnold's second volume.
ple of Patrician Chastity, to offer up her vows; but was denied the right of entrance or of worship by the Patrician ladies who were gathered at the shrine, because, said they, she was married to a Plebeian. The historian, alluding with unusual gravity to the quickness of resentment which he declares to be peculiar to women, proceeds to confess the loftiness of Virginia's demeanour. “I thought,” she exclaimed, “I had as good a right here as any; but if it be on my husband's account that I am thus affronted, I say I am neither ashamed of him, nor of his exploits, nor of his honors.” She then withdrew, and, for her sole revenge, set up an altar in her house to Plebeian Chastity, to whose worship she invited her Plebeian countrywomen. The resolution on her part was as noble and as rare as the feeling which the Patrician dames showed to her was frequent and ill-omened.
The triumph of the popular party left many fears for the present and the future unassuaged. Its errors have no need of being expounded before Christians; but it may be good for many to reflect a moment upon the connection between the seeds and the harvest of liberty in Rome, which is so apparent in the conduct of those amongst her citizens who were the first and the last to rise, as an estate, beneath her laws. It is thus that the later revolutions, however sudden, will be seen to have had their preparation in the characteristics of the era we have passed.
65 Liv., X. 23.
CONQUEST AND CONDITION OF ITALY.
"Come and see
Byron, Childe Harold, IV. 78. "They are no more than links in the chain winding round the world.” – MACKINTOSI, Hist. of England, Vol. I. p. 264.
BEYOND the crowded quarters of modern Rome, the ruins of the ancient city lie scattered and sol. itary. Like gravestones' above the race that reared them in their prime, they cover dust, which, in the shadowy or the thoughtful hour, appears to be recreated in the forms of long-buried generations. Old conflicts, old triumphs, and old heroes sweep through the broken arches and crowd about the sunken columns, until these, too, assume the shapes they once wore, and revive to greet the phantoms which have been brought back to them by the memory of the watcher or the pilgrim. Sometimes a living throng, in sparkling attire and of rapid tongue, inundates the lonely places that scarcely form a part of the surrounding city, and breaks the slumber in
"Where the ground, League beyond league, like one great ceme.
And let the living wander where they will,
which they have lain through the week or through the year. But the life and the rejoicing of the people that is still called the Roman cover the ruins to which the ancient name seems rather to belong with deeper melancholy; and, more spectral than in their solitude, they rise above the crowd like skeletons to whose wasted limbs the touch of flesh and blood is a convulsing mockery. No proof could be clearer of the annihilation of former things than the horror with which their very fragments of brick and stone shrink from the light of day and the noise of men. Nor can there be any image of the desolation which fell upon the nations whom Rome conquered in her heathen times more striking than the appearance of the victorious city itself in these Christian days, which suffer us to see the terrors and the crimes of warfare.
As soon as we engage in the dismal period through which the line, at least, of the Roman conquests is to be followed, we seem to see more clearly the purpose for which the people has been strengthened by a development of liberty, greater, in many respects, than was allowed to any other ancient nations. It was the freedom amongst themselves that preceded the victory over the rest of their world.?
No adequate idea has yet been given in these pages concerning either the magnitude of the early warfare or the extent of the original conquests. Even the mention which has been scrupulously made of
2 Which Dionysius notices as 'Elevbeplay te kai ada early as in the reign of Romulus: – II. 4.
the new Tribes, as they were successively added to the Commonwealth, until they amounted at the present period to three-and-thirty, fails to tell the story as it should be told, and for this reason, — that the conquered people were not always registered in Tribes, but often became dependent, or, as they were sometimes permitted to style themselves, independent allies. Nothing but the great number of auxiliary, added to the Roman, forces could explain the swiftness and the security with which enemies on every side, singly or collectively, were overcome during the years we have latterly passed; and it is only a clear perception of the large armies, always comparatively speaking, which were engaged, and the universal passion which was now aroused throughout Italy, that can here save us from the mistaken notion of a people dashing into conquests as though they had been games, instead of the struggles that they really were in heart and limb.
The Roman dominions at the epoch of the Hor. tensian law might be defined, upon the map of Italy, by a line beginning towards the northwest, between the forty-second and forty-third parallels; thence drawn above the southern part of Etruria, the country of the Sabines, and a portion of the adjoining Picenum on the north; including most of the region between Picenum and Samnium on the east; and then stretching to the south around Campania, as far as Vesuvius, and the whole of Latium. Within these limits many towns and several people, besides those admitted to the Tribes, continued under their own