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But it was impossible that victory so extensive as that which humbled Italy should be achieved without changes and perturbations. The more manifest signs at Rome of the larger dominion were the formation of new offices, and the investiture of the former magistrates with wider powers and greater cares. The number of the Quæstors, the public treasurers, was augmented from four to eight; 16 while various commissions, as they may be called, were now first appointed to take charge of such affairs as the coinage, the roads, and the police, all requiring to be managed on a different scale from that which had suited the city before it became the head of Italy. In their social relations, the people would not at once be sensibly affected; and although some gains in land or booty might be made by the poorer classes,18 the richer were increasing their possessions, so that the breach between the two was unrepaired. Nay, it was rather widened by conquests which threw power into the laps of those who were already powerful with much greater profusion than was observed in the distribution of advantages to the lower orders; and in the same way, the distinction between all classes of citizens and the races whom they subdued was the more sensible, and the more grievous to the subjects, in proportion to the number of the vanquished. In the private life of the Romans there was the less opportunity of alteration, either for better or for worse, in consequence of their habit, as it might be called, of prevailing against their foes having rendered the principal interests and experiences with which all men were most familiar wellnigh invariable.
16 Liv., Epit. XV.
18 As in the instance recorded by. 17 Digest. Lib. I. Tit. II. 2, sect. Dion. Hal., Exc., XX. 9. 29 – 31. See Niebuhr's History, Vol. III. pp. 253-255.
The interest taken in the past, like that felt for the present, is more earnestly aroused by the afflictions than by the triumphs of mankind. It is this that makes all heathen history what it should be, an appeal to the compassion rather than to the exultation of its Christian inheritors, and gives to some of its portions a melancholy cast which faith alone can lighten of its look of useless suffering. One of these passages now lies before us, in relation to the victims of the Roman conquests; and though its darkest windings have not yet been reached, there will be many a glimpse of gloom and misery in considering the condition of the Italians. Even a general view of the situation of Italy after the repulse of Pyrrhus and the immediately succeeding victories will involve a return to former years, in order that the condition of the nations subdued or allied in earlier times may be included.
The impossibility of describing the forms of government and the habits of society which prevailed amongst the ancient Italians is the evidence of their entire overthrow. Here and there, it is true, are scattered vestiges of the paths they trod, but too obscure by far to lead us in pursuit of them as living and active races, to whom independence was the dearer because one of the few blessings, even in its imperfection, that they could have received. It appears, to make the most of our materials, that the early Italians were settled in separate towns, between whose inhabitants, on account either of various origin or of bitter hostility, there was hardly any peaceful intercourse until the establishment of confederacies, like those in Latium and Samnium, through which the isolated settlements were united under a national government and in a common name. The confederate institutions which seem to have existed throughout the greater part of Italy, and of which many elements entered into the Roman constitution, proved, as time elapsed, to be totally unequal to their own preservation; which, as is self-evident, could have been secured only through strength sufficient to control their separate members, on the one hand, and, on the other, to resist, or rather to conquer, their numerous foes. We know only that these powers, if ever acquired by any of the confederacies, finally failed them all, and that the resources of the different nations to which they belonged, whether gathered under aristocratical or democratical laws, were swept like chaff before the stormy marches of the Romans.
Then, as the conquerors might have said in derision, the loans they had received from the institutions of the conquered were repaid by new systems of their own, imposed upon the weakest, but as yet withheld from the strongest, amongst the vanquished. The destiny of the Italians is now seen to have been merged in that of the Romans by a higher Power than
was wielded by any mortal arms. Still, there were various ways in which this fusion was accomplished, and by which the institutions of the Commonwealth were thus extended; and an inquiry into these must further embrace the services universally enjoined, as well as the rights which were sometimes conferred, or the bonds at other times enchained, upon their subjects by the victorious Romans.
The great boon, as it was esteemed when complete, of citizenship was never, probably, bestowed upon a thoroughly humbled enemy. Its private and its public rights, together with the places in the Tribes, by which the possession and the exercise of the rights were secured, could have been granted only to those neighbours over whom a temporary advantage did not necessarily imply any enduring dominion, unless alike judiciously and modestly used. In such cases, the foe became a champion whose arms were at the disposal of his sometime enemy, and whose privileges as a member of the larger state were greater than those he had before enjoyed, though they might still fall short of the authority and the immunity of the elder citizen. At other times, the private rights, or those of family and property,'' were alone conveyed to the new allies, in addition to the personal protection which was always supposed to be afforded to the citizen of any class. In some in
19 The Connubium and the Com- holding office. For the full extent mercium; the public privileges being of citizenship, see the reference to the Suffragium, the right of suf- Cicero, Book I. ch. 4, note 13, in the frage, and the Honores, the right of first volume.
stances, the private rights themselves were partially or entirely withheld, as if the only object of turning a people into citizens had been to place them in restraint and bring them to humiliation in presence of their superiors; the burdens upon newly admitted citizens being often most ponderous when the advantages they acquired were of the least importance. Many of the Italians, therefore, refused the offer of citizenship at Rome,20 preferring one or another of the institutions which we may now proceed to ana
The colonies, broadcast, even at this period, throughout Central Italy, have been mentioned as from time to time despatched to provide subsistence for their members, who would, in return, defend the lands or towns in which their settlements were made. A portion of the people 2 belonging to the conquered territory was always registered amongst the colonists, but as an inferior class; and the distinction of the colony, as a community sent out,22 from all other communities taken in, holds good from the early to the later times. There was a wide difference, however, amongst the colonies themselves.
The first, and for a long time the only ones, were those we have observed as having been formed of the
20 As the Hernicans, Liv., IX. 22 “ Non enim veniunt extrinse43; the Æquians, IX. 45 ; the cus in civitatem, nec suis radicibus Prænestines, XXIII. 30. See Cic., nituntur; sed ex civitate quasi proPro Balbo, 13.
pagatæ sunt ; et jura institutaque 21 Sometimes the whole; as in omnia populi Romani non sui arbithe colony at Antium. Liv., VIII. trii habent." Aul. Gell., XVI. 13.