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Public Lands and Agrarian Laws of the Roman Republic by Andrew Stephenson

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[Footnote 5: Appian, III, 5: Zonarius, VIII, 2.]

[Footnote 6: Ihne, I, 447.]

[Footnote 7: Gellius, XV, 27: "Postea lex Hortensia late, qua cautum
est, ut plebisipa universum populum tenerent." Marquardt u. Momm., _Roem.
Alter.,_ IV, 102.]

[Footnote 8: Polyb., II, 21, 8.]

[Footnote 9: Varro, De R.R., I, 2; De L.L., VI, 5.]

[Footnote 10: Ihne, IV, 26. See Long, I, 157, who disputes this statement.]

[Footnote 11: Varro, De R.R., I, 2.; De L.L., VI, 5.]

[Footnote 12: Val. Max., V, 4, 5.]

[Footnote 13: 1 Val. Max., V, 4, 5; Cicero, _De Juventute,_ II, 17.]

[Footnote 14: Ihne, IV, 26; Cicero, _De Senectute,_ 4.]

[Footnote 15: Polybius, II, 21.]

[Footnote 16: Livy, Epit., XX, 19.]

[Footnote 17: "De agris militum ejus decretum, ut quod quisque eorum
annos in Hispania aut in Africa militasset, in singulos annos bina jugera
acciperet, eum agrum decemviri assignarent." Livy, XXXI, 19.]

[Footnote 18: Momm., II, 230-241.]

[Footnote 19: Livy, XLII, 4: "Eodem anno, quum agri Ligustini et Gallici,
quod bello captum erat, aliquantum vacaret, senatus-consultum factum ut is
ager viritim ex senatus consulto creavit A. Atilius praetor urbanus....
Divers[=e]runt dena jugera in singulos, sociis nominis Latini terna."]

[Footnote 20: Ihne, IV, 370.]

[Footnote 21: Livy, XXXI, 4, 1; Ihne, IV, 370-372.]

[Footnote 22: Livy, XXXI, 4, 1; Ihne, IV, 370-372.]

[Footnote 23: Livy, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 24: Ihne, IV, 148.]

[Footnote 25: Ihne, IV, 371.]

[Footnote 26: Ihne, IV, 354; Momm., III, 277.]

[Footnote 27: Momm., I, 151-162; Ihne, IV, 179. Marquardt u. Momm., IV,
26-27, 63.]

[Footnote 28: Livy, IX, 43, 23; Ihne, IV, 181.]

[Footnote 29: Ihne, IV, 185-186. Marquardt u. Momm., 46, 60.]

[Footnote 30: Marquardt u. Momm., IV, 41-43.]

[Footnote 31: Ibid, IV, 26.]

[Footnote 32: Marquardt u. Momm., IV, 27-34.]

[Footnote 33: Ibid.]

[Footnote 34: Marquardt u. Momm., IV, 44.]

[Footnote 35: Marquardt u. Momm., IV, 45-46.]

[Footnote 36: Momm., _Roem. Ge._, II, 225.]

[Footnote 37: Ihne, IV, 370.]

[Footnote 38: Momm., Lange, Ihne, Long--as given.]

[Footnote 39: Momm., III, 132.]

[Footnote 40: Momm., III, 252, 422.]

[Footnote 41: Momm., III, 281.]

[Footnote 42: Livy, XXII, 34.]

[Footnote 43: Ihne, IV, 354-356.]

[Footnote 44: Ihne, IV, 354-356.]

[Footnote 45: Livy, XXV, 3: "Patres ordinem publicanorum in tali tempore
offensum nolebant."]

(a) _Extension of Territory by Conquest between 367 and 133_.

1. Caere submitted in 353, yielding all southern Etruria to Rome.

2. Volcian territory and all Latium fell to Rome at the close of the Latin
war in 339.

3. Capua, taken in 337.

4. Cales, taken in 334. In this struggle all Campania became Roman

5. Sabine territory submitted in 290.

6. Tarentum, captured in 272.

7. Rhegium, captured in 270.

8. The Galli Senones were destroyed in 283 and their whole territory
(Umbria) was confiscated.

9. In 293, Liguria and Transpadana Gallia were added to the Roman

10. In 222, Italy was extended to its natural boundary, the Alps, by the
subjugation of the Gauls north of the Po. Of the entire territory of Italy,
93,640 square miles, fully one-third belonged to Rome. Thus, in the 287
years of the Republic, Roman territory had expanded from 115, to 31,200
square[1] miles.

At the close of the war with Hannibal, Rome further added to her territory
by the confiscation of the greater part of the Gallic territory, Campania,
Samnium, Apulia, Lucania, and Bruttii.

(b) _Colonies Founded between 367 and 133._

| | | NO. | SIZE OF | |
| | | | | |
Antiuim. | Latium. | 338 | 300 | 2 | 600 | 375
Anxur. | " | 329 | 300 | 2 | 600 | 375
Minturnae. | Campania. | 296 | 300 | 2 | 600 | 375
Sinuessa. | " | 296 | 300 | 2 | 600 | 375
Sena Gallica. | Umbria. | 283 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Castrum Novum.| Picenum. | 283 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Aesium. | Umbria. | 247 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Alsium. | Etruria. | 247 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Fregenae. | " | 245 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Pyrgi. | " | 191 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Puteoli. | Campania. | 194 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Volturnum. | " | 194 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Liternum. | " | 194 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Buxentum. | Lucania. | 194 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Salernum. | Campania. | 194 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Sipontum. | " | 194 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Tempsa. | Bruttii. | 194 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Croton. | " | 194 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Potentia. | Picenum. | 184 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Pisaurum. | Umbria. | 184 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Parma. | Gall. Cisalp. | 183 |1,000 | 6 | 6,000 | 3,750
Mutina. | " " | 183 |1,000 | 6 | 6,000 | 3,750
Saturnia. | Etruria. | 183 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Graviscae. | " | 181 | 300 | 5 | 1,500 | 938
Luna. | " | 173 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Auximum. | Picenum. | 157 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
| Total..|38,900 |30,500

| | | NO. | SIZE OF | |
Calles. | Campania. | 334 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Fregellae. | Latium. | 328 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Luceria. | Apulia. | 314 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Suessa. | Latium. | 313 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Pontiae. | Isle of Latium. | 313 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Saticula. | Samnium. | 313 | 300 | 4 | 1,200 | 750
Sora. | Latium. | 312 | 4,000 | 4 | 16,000 | 10,000
Alba. | " | 303 | 6,000 | 6 | 36,000 | 22,500
Narnia. | Umbria. | 299 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Carseoli. | Sabini. | 298 | 4,000 | 6 | 24,000 | 15,000
Venusia. | Apulia. | 291 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Hatria. | Picenum. | 289 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Cosa. | Campania. | 273 | 1,000 | 6 | 6,000 | 3,750
Paestum. | Lucania. | 273 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Ariminum. | Agr. Gallicus. | 268 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Beneventum. | Samnium. | 268 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Firmum. | Picenum. | 264 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Aesernia. | Samnium. | 263 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Brundisium. | Calabria. | 244 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Spoletium. | Umbria. | 241 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Cremona. | Gaul. | 218 | 6,000 | 6 | 36,000 | 22,500
Placentia. | " | 218 | 6,000 | 6 | 36,000 | 22,500
Copiae. | Lucania. | 193 | 300 | 6 | 1,800 | 1,125
Bononia. | Gaul. | 192 | 3,000 | 6 | 18,000 | 11,250
Aquileia. | " | 181 | 4,500 | 6 | 27,000 | 16,875
Total ...................|226,000 |141,250
Civic Colonies ..........| 38,900 | 30,500
Grand Total .............|264,900 |171,750
| | or
| | 268.36
| |Sq. Mi.

[Footnote 1: I have not here added Roman conquests outside of the peninsula
of Italy, as these conquests were not treated as Roman territory until
nearly a century later.]


"After having pillaged the world as praetors or consuls during time of war,
the nobles again pillaged their subjects as governors in time of peace;[1]
and upon their return to Rome with immense riches they employed them
in changing the modest heritage of their fathers into domains vast as
provinces. In villas, which they were wont to surround with forests, lakes
and mountains ... where formerly a hundred families lived at ease, a single
one found itself restrained. In order to increase his park, the noble
bought at a small price the farm of an old wounded soldier or peasant
burdened with debt, who hastened to squander, in the taverns of Rome, the
modicum of gold which he had received. Often he took the land without
paying anything.[2] An ancient writer tells us of an unfortunate involved
in a law suit with a rich man because the latter, discommoded by the bees
of the poor man, his neighbor, had destroyed them. The poor man protested
that he wished to depart and establish his swarms elsewhere, but that
nowhere was he able to find a small field where he would not again have
a rich man for a neighbor. The nabobs of the age, says Columella, had
properties which they were unable to journey round on horseback in a day,
and an inscription recently found at Viterba, shows that an aqueduct ten
miles long did not traverse the lands of any new proprietors.... The small
estate gradually disappeared from the soil of Italy, and with it the
sturdy population of laborers.... Spurius Ligustinus, a centurian, after
twenty-two campaigns, at the age of more than fifty years, did not have for
himself, his wife, and eight children more than a jugerum of land and a

To this masterly sketch quoted from Duruy, we can but add a few facts.
Pliny affirms that under Nero only six men possessed the half of Africa.[4]
Seneca, who himself possessed an immense fortune, says, concerning the rich
men of his time, that they did not content themselves with possessing the
lands that formerly had supported an entire people; they were wont to turn
the course of rivers in order to conduct them through their possessions.
They[5] desired even to embrace seas within their vast domains. We must
here, it is true, make some allowance for rhetoric. So, too, in the
writings of Petronius, some allowance for satire must be made, where he
represents the clerk of Trimalchio making a report of that which has taken
place in a single day upon one of the latter's farms near Cumae. Here on
the 7th of the calends[6] of July, were born 30 boys and 40 girls; 500,000
bushels of wheat were harvested and 500 oxen were yoked. The clerk goes on
to say that a fire had recently broken out in the _Gardens of Pompey_, when
he is interrupted by Trimalchio asking when the _Gardens of Pompey_
had been purchased for him, and is informed that they had been in his
possession for a year.[7] So it appears that Trimalchio, in whom Petronius
has personified the pride, the greed, and the vices of the rich men of his
time, did not know that he was the possessor of a magnificent domain. In
another place Petronius causes Trimalchio to say that everything which
could appeal to the appetite of his companions is raised upon one of
his farms which he has not yet visited and which is situated in the
neighborhood of Terracina and Tarentum, towns[8] which are separated by a
distance of 300 miles. Finally, led on by his immoderate desire to augment
his riches and increase his possessions, the hero of Petronius asks but one
thing before he dies, i.e., to add Apulia[9] to his domains; he, however,
admits that he would not take it amiss to join Sicily to some lands which
he owned in that locality or to be able, should envy not check him, to pass
into Africa[10] without departing from his own possessions. All this has
a basis of fact. Trimalchio would never have been created, had not the
favorite freedmen of Nero crushed the people by their luxury, debauches,
and scandals.

But the condition of society pictured by Seneca and Petronius is that of
the first century of the Christian era and might not be taken to represent
the condition of affairs in the second century B.C., had we not some data
which go to prove the concentration of property, the disparity between
classes, and the depopulation of Italy within the same century as the
Gracchi. Cicero was not considered one of the richest men in Rome, yet he
possessed many villas, and he has himself told us that one of them cost
him 3,500,000 sesterces, about $147,000.[11] Cornelia, the mother of the
Gracchi, had a country residence in the vicinity of Micenum which cost[12]
75,000 drachmae ($14,000); Lucullus some years afterwards bought it for
500,200 drachmae ($100,040). According to Cicero,[13] Crassus had a fortune
of 100,000,000 sesterces ($4,200,000). This does not astonish us when we
see upon the _via Appia,_ near the ruins of the circus of Caracalla and but
a short distance from the Catacombs of St. Sebastian and the fountain of
Aegeria, the still important remains of the tomb of Caecilia Metella,
daughter of Metellus Creticus and wife of the tribune Crassus, as the
inscription testifies. It is a vast "funereal fortress" constructed of
precious marble, and which gives us the first example of the luxury
afterwards so common among the Romans. Then, too, we remember that Crassus
was wont to say that no one was rich who was not able to support an army
with his revenues, to raise six legions and a great number of auxiliaries,
both infantry and cavalry.[14]

Pliny confirms this statement concerning Crassus, but adds that Sulla was
even richer.[15] Plutarch gives us fuller details and also explains the
origin of the colossal fortune of Crassus. According to him Crassus had
300 talents ($345,000), with which to commence. Upon his departure for
the Parthian war in which he lost his life, he made an inventory of his
property and found that he was possessed of 7,100 talents, $8,165,000,
double what Cicero attributes to him. How did Crassus increase his fortune
so enormously? Plutarch says that he bought the property confiscated
by Sulla at a very low figure. Then, he had a great number of slaves
distinguished for their talents; lecturers, writers, bankers, business men,
physicians, and hotel-keepers, who turned over to him the benefits which
they realized in their diverse industries. Moreover, he had among his
slaves 500 masons and architects. Rome was built almost entirely of wood
and the houses were very high, consequently fires were frequent and
destructive. As soon as a fire broke out, Crassus hastened to the place
with his throng of slaves, bought the now burning buildings--as well as
those threatened--at a song, and then set his slaves to work extinguishing
the fires. By this means he had become possessed of a large[16] part of

Some other facts confirm that which Plutarch tells us of Crassus.
Athenaeus[17] says that it was not rare to find Roman citizens possessed
of 20,000 slaves. At the commencement of the civil war between Caesar and
Pompey, the future dictator found opposed to him, in Picenum, Domitius[18]
Ahenobarbus at the head of thirty cohorts. Domitius seeing his troops
wavering, promised to each of them four jugera out of his own possessions,
and a proportionate part to the centurians and veterans. What must have
been the fortune of a man who was able to distribute out of his own lands,
and surely without bankrupting himself, about 100,000 jugera?

[Footnote 1: Cicero says these exactions were common and that the provinces
were even restrained from complaining. Verres apologized for his exactions
by saying that he simply followed the common example. In Verrem, II, 1-3,

[Footnote 2: "Parentes aut parvi liberi militum, ut quisque potentiori
confinis erat, sedibus pellebantur." Sall., _Jugertha_, 41. Horace, Ode II,

[Footnote 3: Duruy, _Hist. des Romains_, II, 46-47.]

[Footnote 4: "Sex domini semissem Africae possidebant." _Hist. Nat._,
XVIII, 7.]

[Footnote 5: Seneca, Epist., 89.]

[Footnote 6: Petronius, Sat., 48: VII. calendas sextilis in praedio Cumano,
quod est Trimalchionis, nati sunt pueri, XXX, puellae, XL; sublata in
horreum, ex area, tritici millia modium quingenta; boves domiti quingenti
... eodem die incendium factum est in hortis Pompeianis, ortum ex aedibus
nastae, villici.]

[Footnote 7: Quid? inquit Trimalchio: quando mihi Pompeiani horti emti
sunt? Anno priore, inquit actuarius. (_Ibid._ 53.)]

[Footnote 8: Vinum, inquit, si non placet, mutabo; vos illud, oportet
faciatis. Deorum beneficio n[=o]n emo, sed nune, quidquid ad salivam facit,
in suburbano nascitur eo quod ego adhue non navi. Dicitur confine esse
Tarracinensibus et Tarentinis.]

[Footnote 9: Quod si contigerit Apuliae fundos jungere, satis vivus
pervenero, _(Ibid. _77.)]

[Footnote 10: Nunc conjungere agellis Siciliam volo, ut quun Africam
libuerit ire, per meos fines navigem. Sat.,48.]

[Footnote 11: Ad Fam., V, 6: "quod de Crasso domum emissem emi eam ipsam
domum H.S., XXXV."]

[Footnote 12: Plutarch, _Life of Marius._]

[Footnote 13: De Repub., III, 7: Cur autem, si pecuniae modus statuendus
fuit feminis, P. Crassi filia posset habere, si unica patri esset, aeris
millies, salva lege?]

[Footnote 14: Cicero, _Paradoxia_, VI.]

[Footnote 15: Pliny, _Hist. Nat.,_XXXIII, 10.]

[Footnote 16: Plutarch, _Crassus_, c. 1 and 2.]

[Footnote 17: Athenaeus, _Deipnosophistae,_VI, 104.]

[Footnote 18: Caesar, _Bell. Civ.,_I, 17.]


The last of the evils which we wish to mention as bringing about the
deplorable condition of the plebeians at the time of the Gracchi, and which
brought more degradation and ruin in its train than all the others, is
slavery. Licinius Stolo had attempted in vain to combat it. Twenty-four
centuries of fruitless legislation since his death has scarcely yet taught
the most enlightened nations that it is a waste of energy to regulate by
law the greatest crime against humanity, so long as the conditions which
produced it remain the same. The Roman legions, sturdy plebeians, marched
on to the conquest of the world. For what? To bring home vast throngs of
captives who were destined, as slaves, to eat the bread, to sap the life
blood, of their conquerors. The substitution of slaves for freemen in the
labors of the city and country, in the manual arts and industries, grew in
proportion to the number of captives sold in the markets of Rome. All the
rich men followed more or less the example of Crassus; they had among their
slaves, weavers, carvers, embroiderers, painters, architects, physicians,
and teachers. Suetonius tells us that Augustus wore no clothing save that
manufactured by slaves in his own house. Atticus hired his slaves to the
public in the capacity of copyists. Cicero used slaves as amanuenses. The
government employed slaves in the subordinate posts in administration; the
police, the guard of monuments and arsenals, the manufacture of arms and
munitions of war, the building of navies, etc. The priests of the temples
and the colleges of pontiffs had their familiae of slaves.

Thus in the city, plebeians found no employment. Competition was impossible
between fathers of families and slaves who labored _en masse _in the vast
work-shops of their masters, with no return save the scantiest subsistence,
no families, no cares, and most of all no army service. In the country it
was still worse. It would appear that none but slaves were employed in the
cultivation of the land. Doubtless the number of slaves in Italy has been
greatly exaggerated, but it is certain that the substitution of slave
labor for free, was an old fact when Licinius[1] attempted by the formal
disposition of his law to check the evil. In the first centuries of Rome,
slaves must have been scarce. They were still dear in the time of Cato,
and even Plutarch mentions as a proof of the avarice of the illustrious[2]
censor, that he never paid more than 15,000 drachmae for a slave. After the
great conquests of the Romans, in Corsica, Sardinia, Spain, Greece, and the
Orient, the market went down by reason of the multitude of human beings
thrown upon it. An able-bodied, unlettered man could be bought for the
price of an ox. Such were the men of Spain, Thrace, and Sardinia. Educated
slaves from Greece and the East brought a higher price. We learn from
Horace, that his slave Davus whom he has rendered so celebrated, cost him
500 drachmae.[3] Diodorus of Siculus says that the rich caused their slaves
to live by their own exertions. According to him the knights employed great
bands of slaves in Sicily, both for agricultural purposes and for herding
stock, but they furnished them with so little food that they must either
starve or live by brigandage. The governors of the island did not dare to
punish these slaves for fear of the powerful order which owned them.[4]
Slave labor was thus adopted for economic reasons, and, for the same
reasons, agriculture in Italy was abandoned for stock raising.

Says Varro:[5] "Fathers of families rather delight in circuses and theatres
than in farming and grape culture. Therefore, we pay that wheat necessary
for our subsistence be imported from Africa and Sardinia; we pick our
grapes in the isles of Cos and Chios. In this land where our fathers
who founded Rome instructed their children in agriculture, we see the
descendants of those skillful cultivators, by reason of avarice and in
contempt of laws, transferring arable lands into pasture fields, perhaps
ignorant of the fact that agriculture and fatherland were one."

Fewer men were needed for the care of these pasture lands; but the evil did
not stop here. Little by little these pasture lands were transformed into
mere pleasure grounds attached to villas. This had already begun to take
place as early as the second Punic war, when the plains of Sinuessa[6] and
Falernia were cultivated rather for pleasure than the necessaries of life;
so that the army of Fabius could find nothing upon which to sustain
itself. Under these influences the plebeians, in 133, had become merely a
turbulent, restless mass, but full of the activity and the energy which
had characterized them in the early centuries of the republic. They were
composed chiefly of the descendants of the ancient plebeian families,
decimated by wars and by misery. They were the heirs of those for whom
Spurius Cassius, Terentillius Arsa, Virginius, Licinius Stolo, Publilius
Philo, and Hortensius had endured so many conflicts and even shed their
blood; but they had become brutalized by poverty, debauchery, and crime.
No longer able to support themselves by labor, they had become beggars and

[Footnote 1: M. Bureau de la Malle, _Ec. polit. des Romains,_ch. 15, p.
143; ch. 2, p.231.]

[Footnote 2: Plutarch, _Cato the Censor,_6 and 7.]

[Footnote 3: Horace, Sat. II, 7; v. 42-43: "Quid? si me stultior ipso
quingentis empto drachmis, deprehenderis."]

[Footnote 4: Diodorus, Siculus, Fg. of Bk. XXXIV.]

[Footnote 5: Varro, _De R.R. Proem. _3, 4.]

[Footnote 6: Livy, XXII, 15.]


In 133, more than two centuries after the enactment of the law of Licinius
Stolo, Tiberius Gracchus, tribune of the people for that year, brought
forward a bill which was in fact little less than a renewal of the old law.
It provided that no one should occupy more than five hundred jugera of the
_ager publicus, _with the proviso that any father could reserve[1] 250
jugera for each son.[2] This law differed from that of Licinius in that
it guaranteed permanent possession of this amount to the occupier and his
heirs forever.[3] Other clauses were subjoined providing for the payment[4]
of some equivalent to the rich for the improvements and the buildings upon
the surrendered estates, and ordering the division of the domain thus
surrendered among the poorer citizens in lots of 30 jugera each, on
the condition that their portions should be inalienable.[5] They bound
themselves to use the land for agricultural purposes and to pay a moderate
rent to the state. It appears that the Italians were not excluded from the
benefit of this law.[6]

The design of this bill was to recruit the ranks of the Romans by drafts of
freeholders from among the Latins. Such as had been reduced to poverty were
to be restored to independence. Such as had been sunk beneath oppression
were to be lifted up to liberty.[7] No more generous scheme had ever been
brought before the Romans. None ever met with more determined opposition,
and for this there was much reason. There might have been some like the
tribune's friends ready to part with the lands bequeathed to them by their
fathers; but where one was willing to confess, a hundred stood ready to
deny the claim upon them. Nor had they any such demands to meet as those
of the olden times. Then the plebeians were a firm and compact body which
demanded a share of recent conquests that their own blood and courage had
gained. Now it was a loose and feeble body of various members waiting for
a share in land long since conquered, while their patron rather than their
leader exerted himself for them.

Tiberius, like Licinius, met with violent opposition, but he had not like
him the patience and the fortitude to wait the slower but safer process of
legitimate agitation. He adopted a course[8] which is always dangerous and
especially so in great political movements. Satisfied with the justice of
his bill and stung by taunts and incensed by opposition, he resolved to
carry it by open violation of law. He caused his colleague, Octavius,
who had interposed his veto, to be removed from office by a vote of the
citizens--a thing unheard of and, according to the Roman constitution,
impossible--and in this way his bill for the division of the public
land was carried and became a law. It required the appointing of three
commissioners to receive and apportion the public domain.[9] This
collegium of three persons,[10] who were regarded as ordinary and standing
magistrates of the state, and were annually elected by the assembly of the
people, was entrusted with the work of resumption and distribution. The
important and difficult task of legally settling what was domain land and
what was private property was afterward added to these functions. Tiberius
himself, his brother Caius, then at Numantia, and his father-in-law,
Claudius, were nominated, according to the usual custom of intrusting
the execution of a law to its author and his chosen adherents.[11] The
distribution was designed to go on continually and to embrace the whole
class that should be in need of aid. The new features of this agraria lex
of Sempronius, as compared with the Licinio-Sextian, were, first, the
clause in favor of the hereditary possessors; secondly, the payment of
quit-rent, and inalienable tenure proposed for the new allotments; thirdly,
and especially, the permanent executive, the want of which, under the
older law, had been the chief reason why it had remained without lasting
practical application.[12]

The dissatisfaction of the supporters of the law concurred with the
resistance of its opponents in preventing its execution or at least greatly
embarrassing the collegium. The senate refused to grant the customary
outfit to which the commissioners[13] were entitled. They proceeded without
it. Then the landowners denied that they occupied any of the public
land, or else asked such enormous indemnities as to render the recovery
impossible without violence. This roused opposition. The _ager publicus_
had never been surveyed, private boundaries had in many cases been
obliterated, and, except where natural boundaries marked the limit of the
domain land, it was impossible to ascertain what was _ager publicus_ and
what _ager privatus_. To avoid this difficulty the commission adopted the
just but hazardous expediency of throwing the burden of proof upon the
occupier. He was summoned before their tribunal and, unless he could
establish his boundaries or prove that the land in question had never
been a part of the domain land, it was declared _ager publicus_ and

On the other hand the newly made proprietors were contending with one
another, if not with the commissioners. The Italians were, in some cases,
despoiled instead of relieved by the law. The complaints of those turned
out of their estates to make room for the clamorous swarms from the city,
drowned the thanks of such as obtained a portion of the lands. Not even
with the wealth of Attalus had Tiberius bought friends enough to aid him at
this time.[15] The same spirit of lawlessness which he himself had invoked
in the passing of his law, was in turn made use of by his enemies to
crush him. Having been absent from Rome while performing his duties as
commissioner, he now returned as a candidate for re-election to the
tribunate, a thing in itself contrary to law, and in the struggle which
arose over his re-election, was slain a little more than six months after
his appointment[16] to membership in the collegium.

_Uncertainty as to the Details of the Lex Sempronia._ We are very
imperfectly informed upon many points in Tiberius' agrarian law. In the
first place, the question arises, were those persons holding less than
500 jugera at the time of its enactment given their lands as _bona fide_
private property with the privilege of making up the deficiency? If not,
then the law, instead of punishing, would seem to reward violation of its
tenets, and he who had with boldness appropriated the greatest quantity
of domain land would now be an object of envy to his more honest but less
fortunate neighbors.

Secondly, what arrangement was made as to the buildings and improvements
already upon the land? Were these handed over to the new owners without any
payment on their part? This would work great inequality in the value of
allotments made, and yet we cannot see where the poor man was to obtain
the money to pay for these. Then again, what was to become of the numerous
slaves which had hitherto carried on the agriculture now destined to be
performed by small holders? Their masters would have no further use for
them and would consequently swell the lists of freedmen in order to avoid
the expense of feeding them. This law was passed in the midst of the
Sicilian slave war and Tiberius Gracchus would surely not have neglected
to make some provision to meet this exigency. The law as it stands in its
imperfect condition seems to be the work of an ignorant, unprincipled
political charlatan, but we are convinced Tiberius was not that. Moreover,
we know that he had the help of one of Rome's most able lawyers, Publius
Mucius Scaevola, and the advice of his father-in-law, Appius Claudius,
who was something of a statesman. We are therefore convinced that some
conditions which were to meet these obstacles were enacted. We must admit,
however, that it is a little surprising that no fragment of such conditions
has ever reached us in the literature of Rome.

_Results of this Law._ Although Tiberius was dead, yet his law still lived,
and, indeed, received added force from the death of its author. The senate
killed Gracchus but could not annul his law. The party which was favorable
to the distribution of the domain land gained control of affairs. Gaius
Gracchus, Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, and Gaius Papirius Carbo, were the chief
persons in carrying the law into effect. Mommsen (vol. III, p. 128) says:
"The work of resuming and distributing the occupied domain land was
prosecuted with zeal and energy; and, in fact, proofs to that effect are
not wanting. As early as 622(i.e. from the Foundation of Rome, =132 B.C.)
the consul of that year, Publius Popillius, the same who presided over the
prosecution of the adherents of Tiberius Gracchus, recorded on a public
monument that he was 'the first who had turned the shepherd out of the
domains and installed farmers in their stead;' and tradition otherwise
affirms that the distribution extended over all Italy, and that in the
formerly existing communities the number of farmers was everywhere
augmented--for it was the design of the Sempronian agrarian law to elevate
the former class, not by the founding of new communities, but by the
strengthening of those already in existence.

"The extent and the comprehensive effect of these distributions are
attested by the numerous arrangements in the Roman art of land-measuring
referable to the Gracchan assignations of land; for instance, the due
placing of boundary stones, so as to obviate future mistakes, appears to
have been first suggested by the Gracchan courts for defining boundaries
and by the distribution of land.

"But the number on the burgess-rolls gives the clearest evidence. The
census, which was published in 623, and actually took place probably in
the beginning of 622, yielded not more than 319,000 burgesses capable of
bearing arms, whereas six years afterwards (629), in place of the previous
falling off (p. 108), the number rises to 395,000, that is 76,000 of an
increase beyond all doubt solely in consequence of what the allotment
commission did for Roman burgesses."

Ihne says, concerning this same commission (vol. IV, p. 409): "The
triumvirs entered upon their duties under the most unfavorable
circumstances.... We may entertain serious doubts whether they or their
immediate successors ever got beyond this first stage of their labors, and
whether they really accomplished the task of setting up any considerable
number of independent freeholders." Ihne further says (vol. IV, p. 408,
n. 1), in answer to the statements made by Mommsen, which we have quoted
above: "There is an obvious fallacy in this argument, for how could the
assignment of allotments to poor citizens increase the number of citizens?
There is nothing to justify the assumption that non-citizens were to share
in the benefit of the land-law, and that by receiving allotments they were
to be advanced to the rank of citizens. If the statements respecting the
census of 131 B.C. and 125 B.C. are to be trusted, the great increase in
the number of citizens must be explained in another way. It is possible ...
that after the revolt of Fregellae (125 B.C.) a portion of the allies were
admitted to the Roman franchise by several plebiscites. We know nothing of
such plebiscites; but it is not unlikely that the Roman senate in 125 B.C.
acted on the principle of making timely concessions to a portion of the
rebels, and thus preventing unanimous action among them. This is what
was done in 90 B.C. during the great Social War. By such an admission of
allies, the increase of citizens between 131 and 125 might possibly be

If we examine the objections which Ihne raises we shall not find them
so formidable as first appears. Mommsen does not say that the number of
citizens was increased. What he does say is that the number of burgesses
capable of bearing arms was increased (vol. III, p. 128). In 570-184, the
Servian Military Constitution was so modified as to admit to service in the
burgess army, persons possessed of but 4,000 asses ($85). In case of need
all those who were bound to serve in the fleet, _i.e._ those rated between
4,000 and 1,500 asses and all freedmen, together with the free-born rated
between 1,500 asses ($30) and 375 asses ($7.50), were enrolled in the
burgess infantry.[17] It is easy enough to see that the gift on the part of
the government of 30 jugera (24 acres) of land to each poor citizen,
would raise him from the ranks of the proletariate and make him liable to
military service.

This is sufficient to establish Mommsen's thesis;[18] and it is not
necessary to consider the second point, viz., that non-citizens were not to
share in the benefit of the land law nor thereby to be raised to the rank
of citizens, although to us it would be no more difficult to believe this
than that 76,000 allies had been admitted to the Roman franchise "by
several plebiscites" no trace or rumor of which had been preserved.

It can hardly be supposed that the Italian farmers were multiplied at
the same ratio as were the Romans; but the result must have been most
beneficial even to them.

In the accomplishing of this result, respectable interests and existing
rights were no doubt violated. The commission itself was composed of
violent partisans who, being judges unto themselves, did not scruple to
carry out their plans even at the cost of recklessness and tumult. Loud
complaints were made, but usually to no avail. If the domain question was
to be settled at all, the matter could not be carried through without some
such rigor of action. Intelligent Romans wished to see the plan thoroughly
tested. But this acquiescence had a limit. The Italian domain was not all
in the hands of Roman citizens. Allied communities held the usufruct of
large tracts of it by means of decrees of the people or the senate, and
other portions had been taken possession of by Latin burgesses. These in
turn were attacked by the commissioners; but to give fresh offense to these
Latini, who were already overburdened with military service, without share
in the spoils, was a matter of doubtful policy.

The Latini appealed to Scipio in person, and by his influence a bill was
passed by the people which withdrew from the commission its jurisdiction
and remitted to the consuls the decision as to what were private and what
domain lands. This was a mild way of killing the law, and resulted in that.
It had, however, in great measure, fulfilled its object and left little
territory in the hands of the Roman state.

[Footnote 1: App., I,9; Livy, Epit., LVIII, XII: "possessores, qui filios
in potestate haberent, supra legitimum modum ducena quinquagena jugera in
singulos retinerent."]

[Footnote 2: Mommsen states that this privilege was limited to 1000 jugera
in all, and Wordsworth follows him, making the same statement. Lange, Roem.
Alterthuemer, III, 9, agrees with Mommsen and cites, App. B.C., I, 9, 11;
Vell., 2, 6; Livy, Ep., 58; Aurelius Victor, 64; Sic. Flacc., p. 136, Lach.
I find no direct proof in the places mentioned of what Lange asserts while
App. (I, 11), says: [Greek: "kai paisi, ois eisi paides ekasto kai touton
ta aemisea."]. Long says there is no proof of any limitation as to number
of sons, while Ihne, Duruy and Nitzsch are agreed in following the
statement of Appian, as I have here done. See Marquardt u. Momm., Roem.
Alter, 106.]

[Footnote 3: App., I, 11.]

[Footnote 4: Momm., III, 114; Plutarch, Tiberius Gracchus, 9, 1. 9.]

[Footnote 5: App., I, 1. 3.]

[Footnote 6: [Greek: App., I, 9: "Tiberios Grakchos...daemarchon
esemnologaese peri tou Italikou genous hos eupolemotatou te kai sungenus
phtheiromenou de kat oligon es aporian kai oligandrian]. Also App. B.C., I,
13; [Greek: Grakchas de megalauchoumenos epi to nomo ... oia dae ktistaes
ou mias poleos oud henos genous alla panton osa en Italia ethnae es taen
oikian parepempeto."]. Ihne, IV, 385. Lange says (III, 10): "Das Gracchus
die Latiner und Bundesgenosen nicht beruecksichtigte, war bei der Gesinnung
der roemischen Buergerschaft gegen die Latiner ganz natuerlich." I can not
see how he harmonizes this statement with that of App., [Greek: Italikou
genous] and [Greek: Italia ethnae]. Momm., Roem. Ge., II, 88.]

[Footnote 7: Sallust, Jugertha, XLII.]

[Footnote 8: App., I, XII; Plutarch, Tiberius Gracchus, X-XII; Julii Flori
Epitoma, II, (Biblioth. Teubner, p. 67): "Sit ubi intercedentem legibus
suis C. Octavium vidit Gracchus, contra fas collegii, juris, potestas, is
injecta manu depulit rostris, adeoque praesenti metu mortis exterruit, ut
abdicare se magistratu cogeretur."]

[Footnote 9: Momm., III, 115.]

[Footnote 10: App., I, 9; Livy, Epit., LVIII, 12; Plut., Tib. Gr., 8-14;
Cic., De Leg. Agr., II, 12, 13; Velleius, 2, 2; Aurelius Vic., De Vir.
Illus., 64.]

[Footnote 11: Plutarch, Tiberius Gracchus, 13.]

[Footnote 12: Momm., III, 115. See Ihne's just condemnation of this clause;
IV, 387.]

[Footnote 13: Plutarch, Tib. Grac., XIII, ln. 12; Duruy, Hist. Rom., vol.
II, pp. 339-420 of Translation.]

[Footnote 14: Long, I, 183; Ihne, IV, 387; Lange, III, 10-12; Nitzsch,
Die Gracchen, 294 et seq.]

[Footnote 15: Plutarch, Tib. Grac., 14; Florus, II.]

[Footnote 16: Cicero, De Amicitia, 12. "Tiberius Gracchus regnum occupare
conatus est vel regnavit is quidem paucas menses."]

[Footnote 17: Momm., II, p. 417.]

[Footnote 18: Professor Long thinks that the law of Tiberius soon became a
dead letter. Lange (Roem. Alter., III, 26-29), inclines to this view. Duruy
(II, 419-420), and most other modern writers agree with Mommsen.]


Gaius Gracchus really enacted no new agrarian law but merely re-established
the power of the commission which had been appointed by his brother ten
years before; which power they had lost by the law of Scipio.[1] Gaius' law
was enacted merely to preserve the principle, and the distribution of land,
if resumed at all, was on a very limited scale. This is made known from
the fact that the burgess-roll showed precisely the same number capable of
bearing arms in 124 and 114. As has already been stated, the domain
land had been exhausted by the commission before losing its power, and,
therefore, Gaius had none to distribute.[2] The land held by the Latini
could only be taken into consideration with the difficult question of the
Roman franchise. But when Gaius proposed the establishment of colonies in
Italy, at Tarentum and Capua, whose territories had been hitherto reserved
as a source of revenue to the treasury,[3] he went a step beyond his
brother and made this also liable to be parcelled out; not, however,
according to the method of Tiberius, who did not contemplate the
establishment of new communities, but according to the colonial system.
There can be little doubt that Gaius designed to aid in permanently
establishing[4] the revolution by means of these new colonies in the most
fertile part of all Italy. His overthrow and death put a stop to the
establishment of the contemplated colonies and left this territory still
tributary to the treasury.

[Footnote 1: Scipio must have caused a plebiscitum to be enacted, for
the repeal of this clause, as an existing law could not be repealed by a
_senatus consultum._ See Ihne, IV, 414, note.]

[Footnote 2: Momm., III, 137.]

[Footnote 3: Cicero, _De Leg. Agr._, II, c. 29-32; Marquardt u. Momm.,
_Roem. Alter._, IV, 106: "ager publicus mit Ausnahme einiger dem Staate
unenbehrlicher Domainen, wozu namentlich das Gebiet von Capua und das
stellatische Feld bei Cales gehoerte."]

[Footnote 4: Ihne, IV, 438-479. Plutarch, _Gaius Gracchus_, 13.]


SEC. 13.--LEX THORIA.[1]

According to Appian, during the years which followed the death of Gaius
Gracchus up to the tribunate of Saturninus, that is to say, between the
years 120 and 100, three agrarian laws were proposed and adopted.

1. A law "That the holders of the land which was the matter in dispute
might legally sell[2] it." Appian, who is the only authority for this
period, does not give the date of the law nor the name of the tribune who
proposed it, but Ihne[3] makes the date 118, and Mommsen assigns the law to
Marcus[4] Drusus. This law was a repeal of all the restrictions which the
Gracchi had placed upon assignments of public land. The object of this
clause was to secure the success of their great reforms, and to establish
a number of small proprietors who would cultivate their little farms, and
breed citizens and soldiers. But forced cultivation is impossible, and
sumptuary laws have never yet succeeded in increasing[5] population. Again
it is inconsistent to give land to a man and deprive him of the power of
sale, for this is an essential part of that domain which we call property
in land. If a man wishes to sell, he will always have sufficient reasons
for so doing, and a rich man can afford to pay[6] the highest price,
freedom of exchange thus bringing ultimate good to both parties. It is easy
to comprehend the consequences of this law. It was the commencement of
a reaction entirely aristocratic in its nature.[7] It was skillfully
conducted with the ordinary spirit of the Roman senate, the ruses, mental
reservations, and dissimulations under guise of public interest. The
aristocracy presented to the plebeian farmers, established by the lex
Sempronia, a means of promptly and easily satisfying their passions.
They had never earned their little farms, nor did they appreciate the
independence of the tiller of the soil. Unaccustomed to farm labor,[8] and
the plodding unexciting life of the Roman _agricola_, they made haste to
abandon a toilsome husbandry, the results of which seemed to them slow and
uncertain, and with the pieces of silver which they received as the price
of their lands, returned to Rome to swell the idle and vicious throng[9]
which enjoyed the sweet privilege of an existence sustained without labor.

Thus the nobles re-entered promptly and cheaply into the possession of the
lands of which Tiberius had but a short time before deprived them, and,
by means of a little sacrifice, substantially and legally converted their
possessions into real property, while the plebeians whom Tiberius had
wished to elevate by means of forcing[10] upon them the necessity of labor,
fell back into their accustomed poverty and brutality. But the object for
which the nobles were striving was not yet completely gained. The present
victory was theirs; they now strove to guarantee the future, and so render
impossible dangers similar to those already passed through.

2. A second law was thus enacted: "Spurius Borius, a tribune, proposed a
law to this effect; that there should be no more distribution of the public
land, but it should be left to the possessors who should pay certain
charges (_vectigalia_) for it to the state ([Greek: daemo]) and that the
money arising from these payments should be distributed."[11]

It is easy to comprehend the effect of a law so conceived. On the one hand
it guaranteed to the possessors full property in the public lands which
they held. From this point of view it was aristocratic. But on the other
hand it aimed to unite the interests of the common people with those of the
aristocracy, by placing a tax of one tenth of the produce upon the holders
of these lands,[12] thus reestablishing the law which had been annulled by
Drusus. This took the place of distributions of land, which had now been
made impossible[13] in Italy. In reality this law was disastrous to the
plebeians as it established a tax[14] for their benefit, a _congiarium_,
and placed a premium upon laziness.

The narration of Appian presents some grave difficulties. In all the
manuscripts of Appian the name of the tribune proposing the second law is
Spurius Borius.[15] Cicero mentions a tribune by the name of Spurius[16]
Thorius and Schweighaeuser in his edition of Appian has changed 'Borius' to
'Thorius.' But this does not lessen the difficulty, as the law which Cicero
attributes to Thorius is entirely different from the second law of Appian
which, according to him was introduced by Spurius Borius. Cicero says that
Spurius Thorius "freed the public lands from the vectigal."[17] Appian
says that Spurius Borius guaranteed the _possessions_ in the public lands,
levying a tax on them for the benefit of the people. It is a sheer waste
of time to attempt to harmonize these two statements.[18] Granting that
Spurius Borius and Spurius Thorius are one and the same person, the
statements still remain diametrically opposed according to a simple and
commonly accepted translation of Cicero's words: "Sp. Thorius satis valuit
in populari genere dicendi, is qui agrum publicum vitiosa et inutile lege
vectigali levavit." Mommsen makes Cicero agree with Appian by changing
"vectigali" into the instrument, and rendering[l9] "relieved the public
land from a vicious and useless law by imposing a vectigal." No other
writer agrees with Mommsen in making such a translation.

3. The third law is mentioned by Appian alone who says: "Now when the law
of Gracchus had once been evaded by these tricks, an excellent law and most
useful to the state if it could have been executed, another tribune not
long after [Greek: oupolu husteron] abolished even the vectigalia."[20]
This is evidently the same law which Cicero mentions as that of Spurius
Thorius and as he also mentions him in another place (_De Or_., II, 70,
284), we may possibly accept him as the author.

There are still extant some fragments of a bronze tablet which contains
upon its smooth surface the Lex Repetundarum and has cut upon its rough[21]
back an agrarian law. These fragments were discovered in the 16th century
among the collections in the Museum of Cardinal[22] Bembo at Padua.
Sigonius attempted the reconstruction of this law and after him Haubold and
Klentze, but Rudorff has completed the reconstruction as far as possible
and made the law the subject of an interesting essay.[23] Mommsen has a
commentary in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum[24] upon this law. From
all these sources the date of this law has been established almost beyond
doubt as 111. Sigonius assigned it to Spurius Thorius, and, as the name is
immaterial and[25] his arguments moreover for this title are not easily set
aside, we can do no better than adopt it.

_Argument of the Lex Thoria._[26]

The law evidently consists of three parts, although the rubricae are

I. De agro publico p. R. in Italia (1-43).

II. De agro publico p. R. in Africa (44--95).

III. De agro publico p. R. qui Corinthorum fuit (96-105).

I. On the Ager Publicus in Italy.

This part may be divided roughly into three sections: (1) Lines 1-24,
defining _ager privatus_; (2) 24-32, defining _ager publicus_; (3) 33-43,
on disputed cases.

It thus embraces the first forty-three lines of the law, and is concerned
with the public land of Italy, from the Rubicon southwards. It commences
by referring to the condition of this land in the year 133, when Tiberius
Gracchus was tribune. The law does not affect to touch any thing which
had been enacted concerning this land prior to 133. It either confirms or
alters what had been done in 133, and since that time. All the public land
which was exempted from the operation of the Sempronian laws, _i.e._, _Ager
Campanus_ and _Ager Stellatis_, was also excluded from the operation of the
_lex Thoria_.

(1) The first ten lines of the law relate to that part of the ager publicus
which was occupied before the time of the Gracchi, if the amount of such
land did not exceed the maximum fixed by the Sempronian laws;

(2) Also, to the assignments made by lot (_sortito_) to Roman citizens
by the commissioners since the enactment of the Sempronian laws, if such
assignments were not made out of land which had been guaranteed to the old

(3) Also, to all lands taken from an old possessor, but on his complaint
restored to him by the commissioners;

(4) Also, to all houses and lands, in Rome or in other parts of Italy,
which the commissioners had granted without lot, so as such grants did not
interfere with the guaranteed title of older possessors;

(5) Also, to all the public land which Gaius Sempronius, or the
commissioners, in carrying out his law, had used in the establishment of
colonies or given to settlers, whether Roman citizens, Latini, or Italian
Socii, or which they had caused to be entered on the "_formae_" or

All the lands comprised in the above are declared in lines seven and eight
to be private property, in these words: "Ager locus omnis quei supra
scriptus est, extra eum agrum locum, quei ager locus ex lege plebeivescito,
quod C. Sempronius Ti. f. tr. pl. rogavit, exsceptum cavitumve est nei
divideretur ... privatus esto."

Lines 8-10 declare that the censors shall, from time to time, enter this
land upon their books like any other private property; and it is further
declared that nothing shall be said or done in the senate to disturb the
peaceful enjoyment of this land by those persons possessing it.

Of lines 11-13 (ch. II) nothing definite can be said, because of the few
words which have been preserved.[27] Rudorff explains them as referring to
land granted to _viasii vicani_ (dwellers in villages along the roads), by
the Sempronian commissioners; such lands to remain in their possession, but
to be theoretically _ager publicus._

Lines 13-14 refer to lands occupied since 133 _agri colendi causa_. They
allow to every Roman citizen the privilege of occupying, for the purpose of
cultivation, thirty jugera of public land; they further declare that he
who shall possess or have not more than thirty jugera of such land, shall
possess and have it as private property,[28] with the provision that
land so occupied shall be no part of the public land excepted from
appropriation, and further, that such occupation shall not interfere with
the guaranteed lands of a previous possessor.

Lines 14-15 relate to holders of pasture land (_ager compascuus_). This
_ager compascuus_ was land which had been left undivided, and had not
become the private property of any individual, but was the common property
of the owners of the adjacent lands. These persons had the right to pasture
stock upon this land by paying pasture dues (_scriptura_ or _vectigal_)
to the state. The _Thoria lex_ freed these lands from the _vectigal_ or
_scriptura_, and granted free pasturage to each man for ten head of
large beasts--cattle, asses, and horses--and fifty head of smaller
animals--sheep, goats, and swine. This common pasture must be carefully
distinguished from the communal property which was granted to the settlers
in a Colonia and called "_compascua publica_" with the additional title[29]
of the colony, as "_Julienses_."

These rights of common resemble, in some respects, the English common
of pasture as described by Bracton.[30] By English customary law, every
freeholder holding land within a manor, had the right of common of
pasturage on the lord's wastes as an incident to his land.

Lines 15-16. The possession of land, granted by the commissioners in a
colony since 133, to be confirmed before the Ides of March next.

Lines 16-17. The same rule applied to lands granted otherwise by the same

Line 18. Such occupants if forcibly ejected to be restored.

Lines 19-20. Land assigned by the Sempronian commission, in compensation
for land in a colony which had been made public, to become private.

Lines 23-24. Confirmation of the title or restitution of such land to be
made before the Ides of March next.

Lines 24-25. Land besides this which remains public is not to be occupied,
but to be left free to the public for grazing. A fine for occupation is
imposed. The law allowed all persons to feed their beasts great and small
on this public pasture, up to the number mentioned in lines 14-15 as the
limit to be pastured on the _ager campascuus_, free of all tax. This,
according to Rudorff, was done for the benefit of the small holders. Those
who sent more than this number of animals to the public pastures must pay a
_scriptura_, for each head.

Line 26. While the cattle or sheep were driven along the '_calles_,' or
beast-tracks, and along the public roads to the pasture grounds, no charge
was made for what they consumed along the road.

Line 27. Land given in compensation out of public land, to be _privatus
utei quoi optuma lege_.

Line 27. Land taken in this way from private ownership to be _publicus_, as
in 133.

Lines 27-28. Land given in compensation for _ager patritus_ to be itself

Line 28. Public roads to remain as before.

Line 29. Whatever Latins and _peregrini_ might do in 112, and whatever is
not forbidden citizens to do by this law, they may do henceforward.

Lines 29-30. Trial of a Latin to be the same as for a Roman citizen.

Lines 31-32. Territory (1) of borough towns or colonies (2), in
trientabulis, to be, as before, public.

Lines 33-34. Cases of dispute about land made private between 133 and 111,
or by this law, to be judged by the consul or praetor before next Ides of

Lines 35-36. Cases of dispute after this date to be tried by consuls,
praetors, or censors.

Lines 36-39. Judgment on money owing to publicani to be given by consuls,
proconsuls, praetors or propraetors.

Line 40. No one to be prejudiced by refusing to swear to laws contrary to
this law.

Lines 41-42. No one to be prejudiced by refusing to obey laws contrary to
this law.

Lines 43-44. On the colony of Sipontum (?).

Thus we see that the _lex Thoria_ had two main objects in view: (1) The
guaranteeing to possessors full property in the land which they occupied.
(2) The freeing from _vectigal_ or _scriptura_ the property of every one.

In this way was the reaction of the aristocracy completed. It left nothing
of the Sempronian law. Appian[31] has fully comprehended all this, and, in
his enumeration of the three laws, connection between which he indicates,
we see clearly the entire revolutionary system, conducted, we must admit,
with a rare address and a perfidy which rendered the effect certain. The
aristocracy did not rest. As soon as they had gained the people by their
new bait of money and food, soothed them by their apparent generosity, and
familiarized them with the idea that the _possessions_ of the nobles were
not only legally acquired but inviolable, then they raised the mask, and
by a bold step swept away the _vectigal_,[32] thus leaving their property
free. The enactment of this law virtually closed the long struggle between
patrician and plebeian over the public lands of Rome, and left them as full
property in the hands of the rich nobility. The results could hardly have
been otherwise. Sumptuary laws, false economic principles, had closed all
channels[33] of trade and manufacture to the nobility, while conquest had
filled their hands with gold and placed at their disposal vast numbers[34]
of slaves. There was but one channel open for the investment of this
gold,--the agrarian.[35] Farming and cattle-raising were the only
occupations in which slaves could be used with advantage and so, as a
natural result of Roman economics, the plebeian, with little or no money
and subject to the military call, was compelled to enter into a one-sided
contest with capital and slave labor. So long as these conditions existed
so long would all the laws of the world fail to save him from abject
poverty and its attendant evils.

[Footnote 1: Rudorff, _Ackergesetz des Spurius Thorius_, Zeitschrift fuer
geschichtliche Rechtswissenschaft, Band X, s. 1-158. Corpus Inscriptionum
Latinarum, vol. V, pp. 75-86. Wordsworth, _Specimens and Fragments of Early
Latin_, 440-459.]

[Footnote 2: Appian, _Bell. Civ._, I, c. 27.]

[Footnote 3: Ihne, _Roman History_, V, 9.]

[Footnote 4: Momm., _Rom. Hist._, III, 165.]

[Footnote 5: Long, _Decline of the Rom. Rep._, I, 352. See Lange, _Roem.
Alter._, III, 48.]

[Footnote 6: Long, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 7: Momm., III, 161; Ihne, V, 10.]

[Footnote 8: Long, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 9: Lange, III, 48-49; Marquardt u. Momm., IV, 108.]

[Footnote 10: Long, _loc. cit._ Momm., III, 167-168; Ihne, V, 8-10.]

[Footnote 11: Appian, I, c. 27.]

[Footnote 12: Long, I, 353.]

[Footnote 13: Long, I, 354.]

[Footnote 14: Ihne, V, 10-11.]

[Footnote 15: Long, I, 353; Wordsworth, 440; Momm., III, 165, note; Ihne,
V, 9; Lange, III, 48; Appian, I, c. 27.]

[Footnote 16: Cicero, _Brut._, 36.]

[Footnote 17: Cicero, _De Orat._, II, 70.]

[Footnote 18: Marquardt u. Momm., _Roem. Alter._, IV, 108, n. 4; Wordsworth,

[Footnote 19: Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. I, p. 74.]

[Footnote 20: Appian, I, c. 27.]

[Footnote 21: Long, I, 355; Wordsworth, 440.]

[Footnote 22: Long, I, 355; Wordsworth, 440; See Rudorff, Ack. des Sp.

[Footnote 23: Zeitschrift fuer geschichtliche Rechtswissenschaft, Band X, s.

[Footnote 24: C.I.L., I, pp. 75-86.]

[Footnote 25: Long, I, 356.]

[Footnote 26: Wordsworth, 447. See the text of this law in C.I.L., vol. I,
pp. 79-80.]

[Footnote 27: Long, I, 359.]

[Footnote 28: "Quom quis ceivis Romanus agri colendi causa in eum agrum
agri jugera non amplius xxx possidebit habebitue, is ager privatus esto."]

[Footnote 29: Long, _loc. cit._; Wordsworth, 446.]

[Footnote 30: Digby, _History of the Law of Real Property in England_, p.

[Footnote 31: Long, I, 357.]

[Footnote 32: Appian, I, c. 27.]

[Footnote 33: Long, _loc. cit._; Ihne, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 34: Ihne, _loc. cit._; Long, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 35: Momm., _loc. cit._]


In the year following the enactment of the _lex Thoria_, or, by some other
authorities, in 105, an agrarian law was proposed by a tribune named Marcus
Philippus. Cicero is the only writer who mentions it, and he has given us
no information concerning its tendency and dispositions. We only know
from him that it was rejected.[1] Probably the whole thing was merely a
political ruse in order to gain an election or to be handsomely bought off
by the nobility. It, however, presents one point of interest to us. The
introduction of the bill was preceded by a speech, in which the tribune,
in justifying his undertaking, affirmed that there were not two thousand
citizens who had wealth. Cicero has made no attempt to refute this, and
must, therefore, have judged it true. It reveals the fact that Rome was in
a deplorable condition.

In chronological order the first agrarian law after the vain attempt of
Philippus was that of Lucius Appuleius Saturninus. In the year 100, he
brought forward a bill for the distribution of land in Africa[2] to the
soldiers of Marius. Each soldier was to receive one hundred jugera of land.
No distinction was to be made between Roman and Latin. This bill received
the sanction of the assembly and became a law, but force was the chief
instrumentality in bringing this about. This law, so far as can be
ascertained, was never enforced, so that when the same man, three years
later, brought forward another agrarian bill, he took the precaution to add
a clause binding every senator, under heavy penalty, to confirm the law by
the most solemn oath.[3] The first law was enacted in order to provide the
soldiers of Marius with suitable farms when they returned from the campaign
in Numidia. The author doubtless acted with the aid and hearty cooeperation
of Marius. When Saturninus brought forward his second bill, Marius[4] had
returned from the north as the hero of Aquae Sextiae and was present to
help. The nobility as one man opposed the scheme; the town-people were the
clients of the rich. If Marius[5] and Saturninus were to succeed, it must
be by the aid of the country burgess and the soldier. With the legions that
fought at Vercellae drawn up in the town, amid riot and bloodshed, the
assembly passed the bill. The senate, together with Marius himself, for a
time demurred from taking the oath. Finally,[6] at the instigation of "the
man from the ranks," who had come to the conclusion that it was best to
subscribe, all save one, Metellus, took the oath. The law enacted that
assignments of land in the country of the Gauls, in Sicily, Achaia, and
Macedonia, should be made; that colonies should be established, and
that Marius should be the head of the commission entrusted with the
establishment of all these settlements.[7] These colonies were to consist
of Roman citizens; and, in order that Latini,[8] their companions in arms,
might participate in the grants, Marius was invested with power to bestow
the franchise upon a certain number of these. But no one of these colonies
was ever founded. The only colony of the year 100 was Eporedia[9] (Ivrea),
in the northwestern Alps, and it is not likely that this was established in
accordance with the provisions of the enactment. The law was to take effect
in 99, and a change of party took place before that time which sent Marius
into practical banishment and rewarded his partisan, Saturninus, with
death. The optimates who were now in office paid no attention to the law,
and the senators forgot their oath. Another injury is added to the many
which the Latini had suffered.

In the year 99, _i.e._, in the year following the death of Saturninus, an
agrarian law was proposed by the tribune Titius, but we know nothing of its
conditions. Cicero is the only writer who mentions it and even his text
is doubtful.[10] According to one of his statements Titius was banished
because he had preserved a portrait of Saturninus, and the knights deemed
him for this reason a seditious citizen. Valerius Maximus, who without
doubt borrowed his facts from Cicero, states that "Titius had rendered
himself dear to the people by having[11] brought forward an agrarian law."
Cicero mentions in another place, the _lex Titia_[12] upon the same page
as the _lex Saturnina_ and implies that it had been enacted. If so it was
disregarded and thus rendered void.

In 91 an agrarian law was proposed by Livius Drusus, the son of the
adversary of Gaius Gracchus, and, with his new judiciary, the measure was
carried and became a law.[13] The Italians were embraced in this law and
were to have equal rights with Roman citizens, but Drusus died before he
had time to carry his law into execution, and his law died with him.

[Footnote 1: Cic., _De Off._, II, 21.]

[Footnote 2: Lucius Appuleius Saturninus, tribunus plebis seditiosus ut
gratiam Marianorum militum pararet, legem tulit ut veteranis centena agri
jugera in Africa dividerentur.... Siciliam, Achaiam, Macedoniam novis
colonis destinavit; et aurum, dolo an scelere, Caepionis partum, ad
emtionem agrorum convertit. Aurel. Victor. De Vir. Illus., 73.]

[Footnote 3: App., I, 29; Plutarch, _Marius_, 29.]

[Footnote 4: Plutarch, _Marius_, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 5: App., _Bell. Civ._, I, 30-33.]

[Footnote 6: App., _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 7: Aurelius Victor, 73.]

[Footnote 8: Cicero, _De Orat._, II, c. 7, I; _pro Balbo_, XIV; _pro
Rabirio_, XI.]

[Footnote 9: Long, I.]

[Footnote 10: Cicero, _Pro Rabirio_, 9.]

[Footnote 11: Val. Max., VIII, 1, Sec.2: "Sext. Titius... agraria lege lata
gratiosus apud populum."]

[Footnote 12: _De Legibus_, II, 6. _De Orat._, II, 11.]

[Footnote 13: Ihne, V, 176-186; App., I, 35; Val. Max., IX, 5, 2: Cicero,
_De Orat._, III, 1; Livy, _Epit._, 71.]


As soon as Sulla found himself established, he caused a bill to pass the
Comitia Centuriata by means of which he was empowered to inflict punishment
upon certain Italian communities. For the accomplishment of this purpose
commissioners were appointed to cooeperate with the garrisons established
throughout all Italy. The less guilty were required to pay fines, pull down
their walls, and raze their citadels.[1] Those that had been guilty of
continued opposition, as Samnium, Lucania, and Etruria, had their territory
in whole or in part confiscated, their municipal rights cancelled,
immunities taken from them, which had been granted by old treaties, and the
Roman franchise,[2] which they had been granted by the Cinnan government,
annulled. Such persons received, instead, the lowest Latin rights which did
not even imply membership in any community and rendered them destitute of
civic constitution and the right of making a testament.[3] This latter
treatment applied only to those whose land was confiscated. Thus Sulla
vindicated the majesty of the Republic and at the time avoided furnishing
his enemies with a nucleus in Italian communities. In Campania, the
democratic colony established at Capua by Cinna[4] was done away with and
the domain given back to the state, thus becoming _ager publicus_. The
whole territory of Praeneste and Norba in Latium, and Spoletium in Umbria
was confiscated. The town of Sulmo in Pelignium was razed. But more direful
than all this was the punishment which fell upon Etruria[5] and Samnium.
These people had marched upon Rome and, with the avowed determination of
exterminating the Roman people, had engaged in battle at the Colline gate.
They were utterly destroyed and their country left desolate. The territory
of Samnium was not even opened up for settlement, but left as a lair for
wild beasts. Henceforth from the Rubicon to the Straits of Sicily there
were to be none but Romans; the laws and the language of the whole
peninsula were to be the laws[6] and the language of Rome.

To accomplish such an object as this, it was not enough to destroy and make
desolate, it became necessary to repopulate the waste places and rebuild
that which had been torn down. Roman citizens had to be sent as colonists
into the desolate regions. Sulla, accordingly, undertook to carry out his
plans of colonization, the grandest and most comprehensive which Rome
had ever seen, and which indeed have had no parallel in history till
the settlement of the north of Ireland by Cromwell and William III. The
arrangements as to the property of the Italian soil placed at the disposal
of Sulla[7] all the Roman domain lands which had been placed in usufruct to
the allied communities, and which now reverted to the Roman government.
It also placed at his disposal all the confiscated territories of the
communities incurring punishment. Upon these territories he established
military colonies, and thus obtained a three-fold result.[8] He remunerated
his soldiers for the faithful service rendered him in long years of toil
and danger. He repeopled the regions desolated by war (except Samnium). He
provided a military protection for himself and the new constitution which
he established.

Most of his new settlements were directed to Etruria, Faesulae and Arretium
being among the number; others, to Latium[9] and Campania, where Praeneste
and Pompeii became Sullan colonies. A great part of these colonies were,
after the Gracchan manner, merely grafted upon town-communities already
existing. The comprehensiveness of these settlements may be seen in this
fact that 20,000 allotments were[10] made in different parts of Italy.
Notwithstanding this vast disposal of territory, Sulla gave lands to the
temple of Diana at Mt. Tifata, while the territory of Volaterrae and
Arretium remained undisturbed. He also revived the old plan of occupation
which had been legally forbidden in the year 118. Many of Sulla's intimate
friends availed themselves of this method of becoming masters of large

[Footnote 1: App., _Bell Civ._, I, 94-100; Livy, _Epit._, 89. Plutarch,
_Life of Sulla._]

[Footnote 2: Ihne, V, 391.]

[Footnote 3: Momm., III, 428, note. See article on Sulla, in Brittannica.]

[Footnote 4: Momm., III, 401.]

[Footnote 5: Momm., III, 429; Ihne, V, 392; Long.]

[Footnote 6: Momm., III, 429.]

[Footnote 7: Momm., _loc. cit._; Ihne, V, 391-395.]

[Footnote 8: Momm., III, 429.]

[Footnote 9: Momm., III, 430; Marquardt u. Momm., _Roem. Alter._, IV, 111,
totam Italiam suis praesidiis obsidere atque ocupare; Cicero, _De Leg.
Agr._, 2, 28, 75.]

[Footnote 10: App., I, 100; Cicero, _De Legibus Agrariis_, II, 28, 78;
Ihne, V, 394; Marquardt u. Momm., IV, 111; Zumpt, _Comm. Epigr._, 242-246;
Cicero, _Ad Att._, I, 19, 4: "Volaterranos et Arretinos, quorum agrum Sulla


The first agrarian movement after the Sullan Revolution was that
inaugurated by the tribune Rullus. This has become the most famous of all
the agrarian laws because of the speeches made against it by the great
adversary of Rullus, Cicero, who succeeded in defeating the measure by
reason of his brilliant rhetoric. Plutarch[1] has thus analyzed this
proposition. "The tribunes of the people proposed dangerous innovations;
they demanded the establishment of ten magistrates with absolute power,
who, while disposing, as masters, of Italy, Syria, and the new conquests of
Pompey, should have the right to sell the public lands; to prosecute those
whom they wished; to banish; to establish colonies; to draw upon the public
treasury for whatever money they had need; to levy and maintain what troops
they deemed necessary. The concession of so widely extended power gained
for the support of the law the most powerful men in Rome. The colleague of
Cicero, Antonius, was one of the first to favor it, in the hope of being
one of the decemvirs. Cicero opposed the new law in the senate and his
eloquence so completely overpowered even the tribunes that they had not
one word to reply. But they returned to the charge and having gained the
support of the people, they brought the matter before the tribes. Cicero
was in no way alarmed; he left the senate, appeared on the rostrum before
the people and spoke with so great force that he not only caused the law
to be rejected but took from the tribunes all hope of being successful in
similar enterprises."

In 61 we find Cicero advocating a bill similar in nature to the one he had
so brilliantly combatted in 64. In the last instance, however, the law was
proposed by Pompey, and in favor of Pompey's soldiers and that made all
difference to a man who ever curried favor with the great. Flavius, who
proposed this law, was but the creature of Pompey. Cicero has made known
to us, in one of his letters to Atticus, the conditions of the law which
Flavius proposed and the modifications which he himself wished to apply to
it. Flavius proposed to distribute lands both to the soldiers of Pompey and
the people; to establish colonies; to use for the purchase of the lands for
colonization, the subsidies which should accrue in five years, from the
recently conquered territories.[2] The senate rejected this law entirely,
in the same spirit of opposition which it had shown to all agrarian laws,
probably thinking that Pompey would thereby obtain too great an increase of
power.[3] This was the last attempt at agrarian legislation until the year
59, when Julius Caesar enacted his famous law.

[Footnote 1: Plutarch, _Cicero_, 16-17.]

[Footnote 2: Cicero, _Ad. Att._, I, 19.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid.: "Huic toti rationi agrariae senatus adversabatur,
suspicans Pompeio novam quamdam potentiam quaeri."]


During the first consulship of Caius Julius Caesar, he brought forward an
agrarian[1] bill at the instigation of his confederates. The main object of
this bill was to furnish land to the Asiatic army[2] of Pompey, In fine,
this bill was little more than a renewal of a bill presented by Pompey the
previous year (58), but rejected. Appian gives the following account of
this bill: "As soon as Caesar and Bibulus[3] (his colleague) entered on the
consulship, they began to quarrel and to make preparation to support their
parties by force. But Caesar who possessed great powers of dissimulation,
addressed Bibulus in the senate and urged him to unanimity on the ground
that their disputes would damage the public interests. Having in this way
obtained credit for peaceable intentions, he threw Bibulus off his guard,
who had no suspicion of what was going on, while Caesar, meanwhile, was
marshalling a strong force, and introducing into the senate laws for
favoring the poor, under which he proposed to distribute land among them
and the best land in Italy, that about[4] Capua which at the present time
was let on public account.[5] He proposed to distribute this land among
heads of families who had three children, by which measure he could gain
the good will of a large multitude, for the number of those who had three
children was 20,000. This proposal met with opposition from many of the
senators, and Caesar, pretending to be much vexed at their unfair behavior,
left the house and never called the senate together again during the
remainder of his consulship, but addressed the people from the rostra. He,
in the presence of the assembly, asked the opinion of Pompeius and Crassus,
both of them approving, and the people came to vote on them (the bills),
with concealed daggers. Now as the senate[6] was not convened, for one
consul could not summon the senate without the consent of the other consul,
the senators used to meet at the house of Bibulus, but they could make no
real opposition to Caesar's power.... Now Caesar secured the enactment of the
laws, and bound the people by an oath to the perpetual observance of them,
and he required the same oath from the senate. As many of the senators
opposed him, and among them Cato, Caesar proposed death as a penalty for not
taking the oath and the assembly ratified this proposal. Upon this all took
the oath immediately because of fear, and the tribunes also took it, for
there was no longer any use in making opposition after the proposal was

This agrarian law did not affect the existing rights of property and
heritable possession. It destined for distribution only the Italian domain
land, that is to say, merely the territory of Capua, as this was all that
belonged to the state.[7] If this was not enough to satisfy the demand,
other Italian lands were to be bought out of the revenue from the eastern
provinces at the taxable value rated in the censorial rolls. The number
of persons settled on the _Campanus ager_ is said[8] to have been 20,000
citizens who had each three children or more. The land was not distributed
by lot, but at the pleasure of the commissioners, each one receiving some
30 jugera.[9] If 20,000 heads of families with their wives and three
children in each family were settled in Campania, the whole number of
settlers would be 100,000. This great number could scarcely leave Rome at
one time, and we find that as late as 51 the land was not all assigned.[10]
While the tenor of the law does not imply that it was the intention to
reward military service with grants of land, yet we may be sure that the
veterans of Pompey were not forgotten.[11] There are no extant authorities
which speak of the settlement of the Campanian land that say any thing
about the soldiers settled there, unless it be Cicero. He speaks of the
Campanian territory being taken out of the class that contributed a revenue
to the state in order that it might be given to soldiers,[12] and he
appears to refer to this time (59). Mommsen says that "the old soldiers as
well as the temporary lessees to be ejected were simply recommended to the
special consideration of the land distributors."[13] These latter were a
commission of twenty appointed by the state. Caesar, at his own request,
was excused from serving, but Pompey and Crassus were the chief ones, thus
furnishing sufficient reason for supposing that the soldier was provided
for. The passage of this bill amounted in substance to the reestablishment
of the democratic colony founded by Marius and Cinna and afterwards
abolished by Sulla.[14] Capua now became a Roman colony after having had no
municipal constitution for one hundred and fifty-two years, when the city
with all its dependencies was made a prefecture administered by a prefect
of Rome. The revenues from this district were doubtless no longer
needed, as those from Pontus and Syria[15] supplied all the needs of the
government, but it is difficult to see what benefit could be reaped
from the ejection of the thrifty farmers who, as tenants of the state,
cultivated this territory and paid their rents regularly into the state
coffers. Wherever the new settlers were brought in, the old cultivators
were turned out. No ancient writer says anything about the condition of
these people. Cicero, in his second speech upon the land bill of Rullus,
when speaking of the consequences that would follow its enactment, declared
that if the Campanian cultivators were ejected they would have no place
to go, and he truly says that such a measure would not be a settlement of
plebeians upon the land, but an ejection and expulsion of them from it.[16]

Did it pay to send out a swarm of 100,000 idle paupers[17] who, for two
generations, had been fed at the public charge from the corn-bins of Rome,
simply in order that a like number of honest peasants, who had been not
only self-supporting but had paid a large part of the Roman revenue, should
be compelled to sacrifice their goods in a glutted market and become
debauched and idle?

[Footnote 1: Livy, _Epit._, 103.]

[Footnote 2: Momm., IV, 244.]

[Footnote 3: App., _Bell. Civ._, II, c. 10.]

[Footnote 4: Compare Dio Cassius, Bk., XXXVIII, c. 1: "[Greek: Taen de
choran taen de koinaen hapasan plaen taes Kampanidos eneme, tautaen gar en
to daemosio ezaireton dia taen aretaen synebouleusen einai.]"]

[Footnote 5: Compare Suetonius' _Caesar_, c. 20: "Campum Stellatem,
majoribus consecratum, agrumque Campanum, ad subsidea reipublicae (sic)
vectigalem relictum."]

[Footnote 6: App., II, c. 11.]

[Footnote 7: App., II, c. 20, and Suetonius, _Julius Caesar_, c. 20.]

[Footnote 8: Suetonius, _loc. cit._]

[Footnote 9: Lange, _Roem. Alter._, III, 273.]

[Footnote 10: Cicero, _ad. Att._, VIII, 4.]

[Footnote 11: Dion Cassius, 45, c. 12; Cicero, _ad Att._, X, 8.]

[Footnote 12: Cicero, _Phil._, II, 39: "agrum Campanum, qui cum de
vectigalibus eximebatur, ut militibus daretur." Marquardt u. Momm., _Roem.
Alter._, IV, 114.]

[Footnote 13: Momm., IV. 244.]

[Footnote 14: Momm., III, 392, 428.]

[Footnote 15: Momm., III, 392, 428.]


After Pompey had been vanquished at Pharsalia, and the republicans in
Africa, Caesar proceeded to distribute lands to his soldiers in accordance
with his promise to give them lands, "not by taking them from their
proprietors as Sulla did; not by mixing colonists with citizens despoiled
of their goods and thus breeding perpetual strife,--but by dividing
both public land and his own private property,[1] and, if this were not
sufficient, by buying what was needed." Appian says that Caesar did not
succeed in carrying out these promises in full, but that veterans were in
some cases settled upon lands legally belonging to others.[2] However,
his soldiers were not huddled together like those of Sulla, in military
colonies of their own, but when they settled in Italy they were
scattered[3] as much as possible throughout the entire peninsula in order
to make them more easily amenable to the laws.[4] In Campania, where Caesar
had lands at his disposal, the soldiers were settled in colonies, and so,
close together. According to a letter of Cicero to Paetus, among the lands
distributed were those of Veii and Capena. Historians have estimated
that there were 100,000 soldiers who received lands in Italy by this

[Footnote 1: App., 94.]

[Footnote 2: App., II, 120.]

[Footnote 3: Long; Momm.]

[Footnote 4: Suetonius, _Julius Caesar_, 38.]


The death of Caesar in no way stopped the assignment of lands, but rather
rendered all possession of land in Italy unsafe. A few weeks after
his death two new laws were promulgated, one by the tribune, Lucius
Antonius,[1] a _lex agraria_, and the other the _lex de colonis in agros
deducendis_ by the consul Marcus Antonius. The first was enacted on the 5th
of June,[2] and ordered that all the _ager publicus_ still at the disposal
of the state, including the Pomptine marshes which Caesar had at one time
planned to drain, but had not, be divided among the veterans and citizens.
It was abrogated by a _senatus consultum_ of the 4th of January, 43,[3]
but was nevertheless carried into execution almost immediately with great
relentlessness towards the enemies[4] of Antonius. The second, the _Lex
Antonia_, perished in April of 44, and had as a result the establishment
of a colony near Casilinum,[5] which Caesar had already colonized; the
remainder of the domain lands, the _ager Campanus_ and _ager Leontinus_,
was converted into a reward for the supporters of Antonius.[6] This was
also set aside by the new law of the consul C. Vibius Pansa, in February,

_Second Triumvirate._ When Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius were reconciled,
thus forming the second triumvirate, the treaty sanctioning this new state
of affairs stipulated, in favor of the soldiers, a new distribution of
lands, _i.e._, a new agrarian law; Appian says:--"In order to increase the
zeal of the army, the triumvirs promised to the soldiers, independent[8]
of other results of victory and a gratuity of colonies, 18 Italian towns,
important by means of their wealth and the richness of their lands.
These were divided among the soldiers with their lands and buildings, as
conquered towns. Among the number were Capua, Rhegium, Venusia, Beneventum,
Nuceria and Vibo. Thus the most beautiful part of Italy became the prey of
the soldiers."

Dion Cassius, Suetonius and Velleius Paterculus all mention these
assignments. After the battle of Philippi and the defeat and death of
Brutus and Cassius, 170,000 men were provided for, in accordance with these
promises, out of the goods of the proscribed and the lands confiscated to
the state. The lands of the towns mentioned in Appian were taken under the
form of a forced sale, but the purchase money was never paid owing to the
bankrupt condition of the treasury.

If we examine into the nature of these agrarian laws since the death of
Julius Caesar, we shall find that they differ in all respects from previous

1. They were executed at the expense not only of public domains but also of
private property.

2. They were the work of one man and not of the entire people.

3. The name of the people was never mentioned in these laws; they were
enacted wholly for the profit of the soldiery. Before the distributions
made by the triumvirate, the public lands had been absorbed, or at least
the fragments remaining were in no way sufficient to recompense the service
of the veterans.

Upon the establishment of the empire, the public lands became a vast
manorial estate whose over-lord was the emperor himself.

[Footnote 1: L. Langii, Commentationis de Legibus Antoniis a Cicerone
Phil., V, 4, 10; Commemoratis particula prior et posterior; Lipsiae,
1882; Lange, _Roem. Alter._, III, 499, 503, 526; Marquardt u. Momm., _Roem.
Alter._, IV, 116.]

[Footnote 2: Lange, _Comm._, II, 14.]

[Footnote 3: Cicero, _Phil._, VI, 5, 14; XI, 6, 13.]

[Footnote 4: _Phil._, V, 7, 20.]

[Footnote 5: Langii, _Comm._, II, 14.]

[Footnote 6: Cic., _Phil._, II, 17, 43; II, 39, 101; III, 9, 22; VIII, 8,
26; Dio Cass., 45, 30; 46, S.]

[Footnote 7: Cic., _Phil._, V, 4, 10; V, 19, 53; X, 8, 17; VIII, 15, 31.]

[Footnote 8: [Greek: "Dosesi ton Italikon poleon oktokaideka ... osper
autois anti taes polemias dorilaeptoi genomenai.... Outo men ta kallista
taes Italias to strato diegrephon."] App., IV, 3.]


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