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FRUMENTARIAE LEGES.

Plut. C. Gracclms, 5 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 6 ; Cic. pro Sext. 48.) This was only a trifle more than half the market price, since in the time of Cicero 3 ses • terces — 12 asses were considered a low sum for a modius of wheat (Bockh, Metrol. Untersdi. p. 420.) It must not be supposed that each person was allowed to receive as much as he pleased every month ; the quantity must of course have been fixed, and was probably five modii monthly, as in later times. This quantity was only given to fathers of families ; but it was not confined to the poor, as Plutarch (I. c,) would imply, for every citizen had a right to it, whether he were rich or poor (l/cacrroj twz/ 5^/xorwf, Appian, 1. c. ; viritim^ Cic. Tusc. Disp. iii. 20) ; and even Piso, who had been consul, applied for his share at the distribution (Cic. 1. c.) It appears, however, from the anecdote which Cicero relates about Piso, that each citizen had to apply in person, a regulation which would of itself deter most of the rich. The example that had been set by Gracchus was too tempting not to be followed, although the consequences of such a measure were equally prejudicial to the public finances and the public morality. It emptied the treasury, and at the same time taught the poor to become state-paupers instead of depending upon their own exertions for obtaining a living.

The demagogue Appuleius Saturninus went still further. In B. c. 100 he brought forward his Lex Appuleia^ by which the state was to sell' corn at -f ths of an as for the modius. The city quaestor Q. Caepio pointed out that the treasury could not bear such an expense, and the most violent opposition was offered to the measure. It is doubtful whether it ever passed into a law ; and it is at all events certain that it was never carried into execution (Auetor, ad Herenn. i. 12 ; comp. Cic. de Leg. ii. 6.) The Lex Livid, which was proposed by the tribune, M. Livius Drusus, in b. c. 91, was likewise never carried into effect, as it was repealed by the senate, together with all his other laws as passed in opposition to the auspices. Of the provisions of this Lex Frumentaria we have no account (Liv. Epit. 71). About the same time, either shortly before or shortly after the Lex Li via, the tribune M. Octavius, supported by the aristocracy, brought forward the Lex Oc-tavia, which modified the law o£ Gracchus to some extent, so that the public treasury did not suffer so much. He probably either raised the price of the corn, or diminished the number of modii which each citizen was entitled to receive. (Cic. Brut. 22, de Off. ii. 21.) Sulla went still further, and by his Lex Cornelia., b. c. 82, did away altogether with these distributions of corn, so that in the language which Sallust puts into the mouth of Lepidus, populus Romanus — ne servilia quidem alimenta reliqua habet. (Sail. Hist, in Orat. Lepid. p. 939, ed. Cort.) But the senate soon found it inexpedient to deprive the people of their cus-tamary largesses, as the popular party began to increase in power ; and it was accordingly at the desire of the senate, that the consuls of b.c. 73 brought forward the Lex Tereniia Cassia, which was probably only a renewal of the Lex Sempronia, with one or two additions respecting the manner in which the state was to obtain the corn. The law enacted that each Roman citizen should receive 5

we ought to read senis instead of semisse. (Monim-een5 Die Romisclien Tribus,^. 179.)

FRUMENTARIAE LEGES. 549

modii a month at the price of 6£ asses for each modius. It appears from the various orations of Cicero, that by this law the provinces were obliged to furnish the greater part of the corn at a fixed price, which was paid by the Roman trea­sury, and that the governors of the provinces had to take care that the proper quantity of corn was supplied. (Cic. Verr. iii. 70, v. 21, pro Sext. 25 ; Ascon. in Pis. 4, p. 9, ed. Orelli.) Occasionally extraordinary distributions of corn were made in virtue of decrees of the senate. (Cic. Verr. 1. c. j But. Cat. min. 26, Caes. 8.)

All the Leges Frumentariae, that have been hitherto mentioned, had sold corn to the people, although at a price much below what the state had paid for it; but as the great party-leaders to­wards the close of the republic were ready to pur­chase the support of the people at any sacrifice to the state, the distribution of corn became at length, quite gratuitous. Caesar, in his consulship, b.c. 59, had threatened to make it so (Cic. ad Att. ii. 19 ; comp. pro Dom. 10) ; and this threat was carried into execution in the following year, b. c. 58, by the Lex Clodia of the tribune Cloclius. The corn was thus in future distributed without any pay­ment ; and the abolition of the payment cost the state a fifth part of its revenues. (Cic. pro Sext. 25 ; Schol. Bob. ad Sext. 25, p. 301, ed. Orelli ; Ascon. in Pis. 4. p. 9 ; Dion Cass. xxxviii. 13.) In b. c. 57, Pompey received by the Lex Cornelia Caecilia the superintendence of the corn-market (cura annonae) for a period of five years ; but no alteration was made in the distribution of corn by virtue of this measure. The only extension which he gave to the distribution was by allowing those citizens, whose names had not hitherto been en­tered in the lists of the censors, to share in the bounty of the state. (Dion Cass. xxxix. 24.)

The dangerous consequences of such a system did not escape the penetration of Caesar ; and ac­cordingly, when he became master of the Roman world, he resolved to remedy the evils attending it, as far as he was able. He did not venture to abolish altogether these distributions of corn, but he did the next- best thing in his power, which was reducing the number of the recipients. During the civil wars numbers of persons, who had no claim to the Roman franchise, had settled at Rome in order to obtain a share in the distributions of corn. The first thing, therefore, that Caesar did was to have an accurate list made out of all the corn-receivers, and to exclude from this privilege every person who could not prove that he was a Roman citizen. By this measure the 320,000 persons, who had previously received the corn, were at once reduced to 150,000.* Having thus reduced the number of corn-receivers to 150,000, he enacted that this number should not be exceeded for the future, and that vacancies that occurred bv

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death, should be filled up every year by lot by the praetor urbanus. (Suet. Caes. 55 ; Dion Cass. xliii. 21.) It is further exceedingly probable that as a general rule, the corn was not given even to these 150,000, but sold at a low price, as had been the case at an earlier period ; and that it was only to the utterly destitute that the corn was supplied

* It must be borne in mind that this was not a census, as Plutarch (Caes. 55) and Appian (B. C. ii. 102) state, but simply an enumeration of the corn-receivers,

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