Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

ment, in order to be sustained. There were colonies, besides, which did better service 'than the Common. wealth deserved from them; but in proportion as Italy became the centre instead of the totality of the Roman dominions, the old system of colonization was abandoned, and before these years arrived, the early colonies had ceased to be the defences of the people by whom they had been founded, aided, and controlled.

It is more difficult to take an exact account of the municipalities,33 a name by which the Romans appear to have sometimes deceived and sometimes honored the Italian towns. Of these, some were governed according to the dictation of the sovereign city, at the same time that their inhabitants were admitted to the private rights of her own citizens; while others, whose people received the same rights of citizenship, were allowed, besides, to retain their own institutions and their own magistrates.39 There were thus two classes of municipalities: one subject municipally and politically, and the other, though politically subject, municipally free; both, again, being endowed with what would be called personal and social immunities. It is nearly certain that the citizens of the higher class of the municipalities

37 See the sketch by Velleius ceps, Municipium, and Livy, Vi. Paterculus, I. 14, 15.

26, VII. 19, VIII. 14, 17, etc. See, 38 Municipia, sometimes trans- also, Aul. Gell., XVI. 13. Some lated the Free Towns.

modern scholars are against the ex39 The only authorities of any tended signification I have given to real importance concerning the Mu- the name.. nicipia are Festus, s. vy. Muni

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

could, at any time, take upon themselves the full privileges of Roman citizenship by removing to the city where these were to be exercised; although the emigrant, in such case, was always obliged to leave, at least, one son behind him, in order to support his house and perpetuate his name.40 These various degrees of freedom, superior, in every respect, to those by which most of the colonies were distinguished, could not often have been granted, and must, in all cases, have been extorted from the conquerors by the necessity of consideration towards some of those they conquered.

There is, however, an episode in the disjointed history of the municipalities, which sets the spirit of the Romans towards the Italians in a better light. During the second consulship of Licinius Stolo,41 hostilities were begun with the neighbouring town or state of Tibur, which, after eight years' continuance, resulted in the concession of apparently the most liberal terms 42 on the part of the Commonwealth, represented, of course, as having prevailed against its foes. The Latin war excited the people of Tibur, a second time, to arms; and though they were then more completely overcome, the conditions of the treaty between them and the Romans were unusually forbearing, 43 and their city became a municipality of the most independent class. But not long afterwards, and probably during the second war against the Sam

sec

43 Liv., VIII. 14.

40 Liv., XLI. 8.
41 A. C. 361. Liv., VII. 9.

42 “ Alioquin mitis victoria fuit." Liv., VII. 19.

nites, the people of the municipality were charged with infidelity to the cause of their conquerors. Though not a solitary fragment preserves the grounds on which they were accused, or the objects for which they might accountably have risked a position that, to many of their countrymen, must have been greatly enviable, the act of the Senate in answer to their protestations of attachment and integrity remains entire;. and entire it may here be inscribed, as embellishing not only the relations between the victors and the vanquished in these weary wars, but likewise the spirit once existing in that body by which so large a portion of human interests was, in ancient times, controlled. The act runs as follows:

“ Lucius Cornelius,14 the son of Cnæus, Prætor, consulted the Senate on the third day before the nones of May, in the temple of Castor. Present for inscribing [the act], Aulus Manlius, the son of Aulus, Sextus Julius, Lucius Postumius, the son of Sextus. The Senate hath considered, as was fitting, how ye, people of Tibur, have made your deposition, and from what ye have cleared yourselves. And we have heard you just as ye declare ye have addressed us. We did not imagine these things to have happened: the more, because we were sure that ye could not have done them for any fault on our part; that, besides, ye were not such as would do them; and, further, that it would be of no advantage to

41 Niebuhr thinks this to have Barbatus, whose sarcophagus and been the Lucius Cornelius Scipio epitaph are so familiar. VOL. II.

13

you or to your state to do them. Since the Senate hath heard your address, so much the more do we believe, as we before believed, that ye have done no wrong. And as ye stand blameless before the Senate, we trust, and ye yourselves must trust, that ye will also stand blameless before the Roman peo

[ocr errors]

The Senate which could pass an act so wise and so generous as this was worthy to have the government of Italy. There are no further details concerning its adoption at Rome, or its reception at Tibur; but the unchanging faithfulness of that municipality in after years may be taken for a sign that the conduct of the Romans towards some of their subjects was not always undeserving of a nation calling itself free.

But there is no other dependent city of whose good fortune so sure a proof remains; while it is very certain that the inferiority of the municipal institutions was keenly felt and bitterly resented by those who lived beneath them, - yet not, perhaps, till later times. The political system of the colonies prevailed in the municipalities, those, of course, being excepted that were governed by their peculiar laws or officers; with this difference, however, even in the case of those which adopted or submitted to the Roman forms, that the Decurions and the higher magistrates of the municipalities were, generally

[ocr errors]

45 The original is in Orelli, Inscript. Lat., 3114. It is quoted by Niebuhr (Vol. III. note 466), who says that the brazen table on which

it was inscribed was found at Tivoli, the ancient Tibur, in the sixteenth century.

speaking, of greater consideration,46 because of greater independence, than the corresponding functionaries in the colonies, where, as the reader may be reminded, but few public, and sometimes but few private, rights of citizenship were procurable. On the other hand, the residents in the municipalities were subject to equal exactions, and, in very many instances, to much greater separation 47 from the metropolis.

Many, both of the municipalities and of the col. onies, especially in the latter period of the Commonwealth, were placed under the superintendence of a Prefect, sent out annually from Rome, with plenary powers of administering justice in the towns, which were hence called Prefectures, though they still appear to have retained, in part, their ancient privileges and institutions.48 Various names 49 appertain to other communities which seem to have been too small to be dignified with the title of colony or municipality; the rights of their inhabitants being likewise inferior to those already defined.50

We may now pass to those estates, if so they may

46 The epithets, however, applied 48 The Prefect took the place of to the Ordo Decurionum, such as the Duumvirs, perhaps of other muAmplissimus (Cic., Pro Cæl., 2) and nicipal or colonial magistrates. FesSplendidissimus (Orelli, Inscript., tus describes the office and its vaetc., 3164), pertain both to the mu- rieties at some length, s. v. Præfecnicipalities and the colonies. See, in tura. See Liv., IX. 20, XXVI. 16. this connection, Liv., XXXIV. 7. 49 The Fora, the Conciliabula,

47 “ Qui ea conditione cives Ro- the Vici, and the Castella. See mani fuissent, ut semper rempubli- Festus still. cam separatim a populo Romano 50 See Savigny, Hist. Rom. Law haberent." Festus, s. v. Municeps. in the Middle Ages, Vol. I. ch. 2.

« НазадПродовжити »