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the plebs, but in. the course of time their power increased to such a degree that it surpassed that of all other magistrates, and the tribunes then, us Niebubr (i. p, 614) remarks, became a ma­gistracy for the whole Roman people in opposition to the senate and the oligarchical elements in general, although they had nothing to do with the administration or the government. During the latter period of the republic they became true tyrants, and Niebuhr justly compares their college, guch as it was in later times, to the national con­vention of France during the first revolution. But notwithstanding the great and numerous abuses which were made of the tribunitian power by in­dividuals, the greatest historians and. statesmen confess that the greatness of Rome and its long cluration is in a great measure attributable to the institution of this office.

As regards the number of the tribunes of the people, all the ancient writers agree (see the pas­sages in Niebuhr, i. n. 1356), that at first they

•were only two, though the accounts differ as to the sanies of the first tribunes. Soon afterward^, how­ever, the number of tribunes was increased to five, one being taken from each of the five classes. (As-con, in do. Corn. p. 56, ed. Orelli; Zonar. vii. 15.) When this increase toolc place is quite uncertain. According to Dionysius (vi.89) three new tribunes

•\vere added immediately after the appointment of the first two. Cicero (Fragm. Cornel, p. 451, Orelli) states, that the year after the institution of the tribunes their number was increased to ten ; according to Livy (ii. 33) the first two tribunes immediately after their appointment elected them­selves thive new colleagues ; according to Piso (ap. Liv. ii. 58) there were only two tribunes down to the time of the Publilian laws. It would be hope­less to attempt to ascertain what was really the ; thus much only is certain, that the number was not increased to ten till the year 457 b. c., and that then two were taken from each of the five classes. (Liv. iii. 30 ; Dionys. x. 30.) This number appears to have remained unaltered down to the end of the empire.

The time when the tribunes were elected was, according to Dionysius (vi. 89), always on the 10th of December, although it is evident from Cicero (ad Ait. i. 1) that in his time at least the election took place a, d. xvi. Kal. Sextil. (17th of July.) It is almost superfluous to state that none but ple.-beians were eligible to the office of tribune; hence when towards the end of the republic patricians wished to obtain the office, they were obliged first to renounce their own order and to become ple­beians [patricii^ p, 876] ; hence also, under the empire it was thought that the prin.ceps should not be tribune because he was a patrician. (Dion Cass. liii. 17, 32.) But the influence which be­longed to this office was too great for the emperors not to covet it. Hence Augustus received the tri-bunitia potestas for life. (Suet. Aug. 27 ; Tacit. Annal. i. 2; compare Suet. Tiber. 9,23, Vesp. \ 2, Tit. C.) During the republic, however, the old regula­tion remained in force even after the tribunes had ceased to be the protectors of the plebs alone. The only instance in which patricians were elected to the tribuneship is mentioned by Livy (iii. 65), and this was probably the consequence of an attempt to divide the tribuneship between the two orders. Although nothing appears to be more natural than that the tribunes should originally


have been elected by that body of the Roman citi­zens which they represented, yet the subject is in­volved in considerable obscurity. Cicero (Fragm. Cornd. I. c.) states that they were elected by the comitia of the curies ; the same is implied in the accounts of Dionysius (/. c.) and Livy (ii. 56), ac­cording to whom the comitia of the tribes did not obtain this right till the Lex Publilia (472 b.c.; Liv. ii. 56 ; Dionys. x. 41). Niebuhr thinks (i.. p.. 618) that down to the Publilian law they were elected by the centuries, the classes of which they represented in their number, and that the curies, as Dionysius himself mentions in another place (vi. 90), had nothing to do with the election except to sanction it. The election in the comitia of the, centuries however droes not the difficulties, whence Gottling (p. 289) is inclined to think that, the tribunes before the expiration of their office appointed their successors, after a previous con­sultation with the plebeians. The necessity of the sanction by the curies cannot be doubted, but it, appears to have ceased even some time before the Publilian law. (Niebuhr, ii. p. 190.) After this time it is never heard of again, aridthe election of the tribunes was left entirely to the comitia tributa,. which were convoked and held for this purpose by the old tribunes previously to the expiration of their, office. (Liv. ii. 56, &c.; Dionys. ix. 43, 49.) One of the old tribunes was appointed by lot to preside at the election. (Liv. iii. 6.4; Appian, de BeM. Civ. i. 14.) As the meeting could not be prolonged after sunset, and the business was to be completed in one clay, it sometimes happened that it was obliged to break, up before the election was completed, and that those who were elected filled up the legitimate number of the college by cooptatio. (Liv. I. c.) But in order to prevent this irregularity the tribune L. Trebonjus in 448 b. c. got an ordinance pass d, according to which the college of the tribunes should never be completed by cooptatio, but the elections should be continued on the second clay, if they were not completed on the first, till the number ten was made up. (Liv. iii. 64, 65, v. 10; qomp. Niebuhr, ii. p. 383.) The place where the election of the tribunes was held was originally and lawfully the Forum, afterwards also the Campus Martins, and sometimes the area of the Capitol.

We now proceed to trace the gradual growth of the tribunitian power. Although its original cha­racter was merely auxilium or /3orj06i« against pa­trician magistrates, the plebeians appear early to. have regarded their tribunes also as mediators or arbitrators in matters among themselves. This statement of Lydus (de Magist. i. 38, 44; Dionys. vii. 58) has been pointed out by Walter (Gesch. d.. Rom. Rechts^ p. 85). The whole power possessed by the college of tribunes was designated by the. name trilunicia potestas, and extended at no time further than one mile beyond the gates of the city; at a greater distance than this they came under the imperium of the magistrates, like every other citizen. (Liv. iii. 20; Dionys. viii. 87.) As they were the public guardians, it was necessary that every one should have access to them and at any time ; hence the doors of their houses were open day and night for all who were in need of help and protection, which they were empowered to afford against any one, even against the highest magis-? trates. For the same reason a tribune was not allowed to be absent from the city for a whole day,

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