The Ancient Library

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story mentioned by the writers just referred to. A recent writer, Dr. W. Ihne (Forsclmngen auf dem Gebieteder Rom. Verfasszingsffeschichte^Frfrnkf. 1847) has undertaken with very plausible arguments to prove that originally plebeians and clients were the same people, and that originally all the plebeians were clients of the patricians, from which dependent relation they gradually emancipated themselves.

Whatever may be thought of the existence of plebeians at Rome in the earliest times, their num­ber at all events cannot have been very great. The time when they first appear as a distinct class of Roman citizens in contradistinction to the patri­cians, is in the reign of Tullus- Hostilius. Alba, the head of the Latin confederacy, was in his reign taken by the Romans and razed to the ground. The most distinguished of its inhabitants were transplanted to Rome and received among the patri­cians ; but the great bulk of Alban citizens, some of whom were likewise transferred to Rome, and received settlements on the Caelian hill, were kept in a state of submission to the populus Romanus or the patricians. This new population in and about Rome, combined, perhaps, with the subdued original inhabitants of the place, which in number is said to have been equal to the old inhabitants of the city or the patricians, were the plebeians. They were Latins, and consequently of the same blood as the Ramnes, the noblest of the three patrician tribes. (Liv. i. 30 ; Dionys. iii. 29, 31 ; Val. Max. iii. 4. § 1.) After the conquest of Alba, Rome, in the reign of Ancus Marcius, acquired possession of a considerable extent of country containing a number of dependent Latin towns, as Medullia, Fidenae,' Politorium, Tellenae, and Ficana. Numbers of the inhabitants of these towns were again trans­planted to Rome, and incorporated with the ple­beians already settled there, and the Aventine was assigned to them as their habitation. (Liv. i. 83 ; Dionys. iii, 31, 37.) Many, however, remained in their original homes, and their lands were given back to them by the Romans, so that they re­mained free land-owners as much as the conquerors themselves, and thus were distinct from the clients.

The order of plebeians or the commonalty, which had thus gradually been formed by the side of the patricians, and which far exceeded the populus in number, lived partly in Rome itself in the districts above mentioned, and partly on their former estates in the country subject to Rome, in towns, villages, or scattered farms. The plebeians were citizens, but not optimo jure ; they were perfectly distinct from the patricians, and were neither contained in the three tribes, nor in the curiae nor in the patri­cian gentes. They were consequently excluded from the comitia, the senate, and all civil and priestly offices of the state. Dionysius is greatly mistaken in stating that all the new citizens were distributed among the patrician curies, and under this error he labours throughout his history, for he conceives the patricians and plebeians as having been united in the comitia curiata (iv. 12, ix. 41). That the plebeians were not contained in the curies, is evident from the following facts : — Dionysius himself (iv. 76, 78) calls the curies a patrician as­sembly ; Livy (v. 46) speaks of a lex curiata, which was made without any co-operation on the part of the plebeians ; and those, who confirm the election of kings or magistrates and confer the imperium, are in some passages called patricians, and in others 'euriae (Dionys. ii, 60, vi. 90, x. 4 ; Liv. vi. 42 ;


compare Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, ii. p. 120 ; Becker, Handbucli der Rom. Altertli.\\. 1. p. 133, &c.), which sho\vs that both were synonymous. That the ple­beians did not belong to the patrician gentes, is? expressly stated by Livy (x. 8). The only point of contact between the two estates was the army^ for after the conquest of Alba, Tullus Hostilius doubled the number of legions of the Roman armv.

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(Liv. i. 30.) Livy also states that Tullus Hostilius formed ten new turmae of equites, but whether these new turmae consisted of Albans, as Livy says, or whether they were taken from the three old tribes, as Gottling (GescJi. d. Rom. Slaatsr. p. 225) thinks, is only matter of speculation. The plebeians were thus obliged to fight and shed their blood in the defence"and support of their new fel­low-citizens without being allowed to share any of their rights or privileges, and without even the right of intermarriage (connuUimi). In all judi­cial matters they were entirely at the mercy of the patricians, and had no right of appeal against any unjust sentence, though they were not, like the clients, bound to have a patronus. They continued to have their own sacra which they had had before the conquest, but they were regulated loy the pa­trician pontiffs. (Fest. s. v. Municipalia sacra.} Lastly, they were free land-owners, and had their own gentes. That a plebeian, when married to a plebeian woman, had the patria potestas over his children, and that if he belonged to a plebeian gens, he shared in the jura and sacra gentilicia of that gens, are points which appear to be self-evi­dent.

The population of the Roman state thus con­sisted of two opposite elements ; a ruling class or an aristocracy, and the commonalty, which, though of the same stock as the noblest among the mlers, and exceeding them in numbers, yet enjoyed none of the rights which might enable them to take a part in the management of public affairs, religious or civil. Their citizenship resembled the relation, of aliens to a state, in which they are merety tole­rated on condition of performing certain services, and they are, in fact, sometimes called peregrini. While the order of the patricians was perfectly organized by its division into curiae, decuriae, and gentes, the commonalty had no such organiza­tion, except its division into gentes ; its relations to the patricians also were in no way defined, and it consequently had no means of protecting itself against any arbitrary proceedings of the rulers. That such a state of things could not last, is a truth which must have been felt by every one who was not blinded by his own selfishness and love of dominion. Tarquinius Priscus was the first who conceived the idea of placing the plebeians on a footing of equality with the old burghers, by di­viding them into three tribes, which he intended to call after his own name and those of his friends. (Verrius Flaccus, ap. Fest. s. v. Navia ; Liv. i. 3G, &c. ; Dionj^s. iii. 71 ; Cic. de Re Pull. ii. 20.) But this noble plan was frustrated by the opposition of the augur Attus Navius, who probably acted the part of a representative of the patricians. All that Tarquinius could do was to effect the admission of the noblest plebeian families into the three old tribes, who, however, Avere distinguished from the old patrician families by the names of Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres secundi, and their gentes are sometimes distinguished by the epithet minores, as they entered into the same relation in which the

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