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The History Of Rome, Book III by Theodor Mommsen

Part 7 out of 11

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admiral Gaius Lucretius appeared before the city, as of Haliartus,
which closed its gates against him and had to be taken by storm, were
sold by him into slavery; Corcnea was treated in the same manner by
the consul Crassus in spite even of its capitulation. Never had a
Roman army exhibited such wretched discipline as the force under these
commanders. They had so disorganized the army that, even in the next
campaign of 584, the new consul Aulus Hostilius could not think of
undertaking anything serious, especially as the new admiral Lucius
Hortensius showed himself to be as incapable and unprincipled as his
predecessor. The fleet visited the towns on the Thracian coast
without result. The western army under Appius Claudius, whose
headquarters were at Lychnidus in the territory of the Dassaretae,
sustained one defeat after another: after an expedition to Macedonia
had been utterly unsuccessful, the king in turn towards the beginning
of winter assumed the aggressive with the troops which were no longer
needed on the south frontier in consequence of the deep snow blocking
up all the passes, took from Appius numerous townships and a multitude
of prisoners, and entered into connections with king Genthius; he was
able in fact to attempt an invasion of Aetolia, while Appius allowed
himself to be once more defeated in Epirus by the garrison of a
fortress which he had vainly besieged. The Roman main army made two
attempts to penetrate into Macedonia: first, ovei the Cambunian
mountains, and then through the Thessalian passes; but they were
negligently planned, and both were repulsed by Perseus.

Abuses In The Army

The consul employed himself chiefly in the reorganization of the army
--a work which was above all things needful, but which required a
sterner man and an officer of greater mark. Discharges and furloughs
might be bought, and therefore the divisions were never up to their
full numbers; the men were put into quarters in summer, and, as the
officers plundered on a large, the common soldiers plundered on a
small, scale. Friendly peoples were subjected to the most shameful
suspicions: for instance, the blame of the disgraceful defeat at
Larisa was imputed to the pretended treachery of the Aetolian cavalry,
and, what was hitherto unprecedented, its officers were sent to be
criminally tried at Rome; and the Molossians in Epirus were forced
by false suspicions into actual revolt. The allied states had war-
contributions imposed upon them as if they had been conquered, and if
they appealed to the Roman senate, their citizens were executed or
sold into slavery: this was done, for instance, at Abdera, and similar
outrages were committed at Chalcis. The senate interfered very
earnestly:(4) it enjoined the liberation of the unfortunate Coroneans
and Abderites, and forbade the Roman magistrates to ask contributions
from the allies without its leave. Gaius Lucretius was unanimously
condemned by the burgesses. But such steps could not alter the fact,
that the military result of these first two campaigns had been null,
while the political result had been a foul stain on the Romans, whose
extraordinary successes in the east were based in no small degree on
their reputation for moral purity and solidity as compared with the
scandals of Hellenic administration. Had Philip commanded instead of
Perseus, the war would presumably have begun with the destruction of
the Roman army and the defection of most of the Hellenes; but Rome
was fortunate enough to be constantly outstripped in blunders by her
antagonists. Perseus was content with entrenching himself in
Macedonia--which towards the south and west is a true mountain-
fortress--as in a beleaguered town.

Marcius Enters Macedonia Through The Pass Of Tempe
The Armies On The Elpius

The third commander-in-chief also, whom Rome sent to Macedonia in 585,
Quintus Marcius Philippus, that already-mentioned upright guest-friend
of the king, was not at all equal to his far from easy task. He was
ambitious and enterprising, but a bad officer. His hazardous venture
of crossing Olympus by the pass of Lapathus westward of Tempe, leaving
behind one division to face the garrison of the pass, and making his
way with his main force through impracticable denies to Heracleum, is
not excused by the fact of its success. Not only might a handful of
resolute men have blocked the route, in which case retreat was out of
the question; but even after the passage, when he stood with the
Macedonian main force in front and the strongly-fortified mountain-
fortresses of Tempe and Lapathus behind him, wedged into a narrow
plain on the shore and without supplies or the possibility of foraging
for them, his position was no less desperate than when, in his first
consulate, he had allowed himself to be similarly surrounded in the
Ligurian defiles which thenceforth bore his name. But as an accident
saved him then, so the incapacity of Perseus saved him now. As if he
could not comprehend the idea of defending himself against the Romans
otherwise than by blocking the passes, he strangely gave himself over
as lost as soon as he saw the Romans on the Macedonian side of them,
fled in all haste to Pydna, and ordered his ships to be burnt and
his treasures to be sunk. But even this voluntary retreat of the
Macedonian army did not rescue the consul from his painful position.
He advanced indeed without hindrance, but was obliged after four days'
march to turn back for want of provisions; and, when the king came to
his senses and returned in all haste to resume the position which he
had abandoned, the Roman army would have been in great danger, had not
the impregnable Tempe surrendered at the right moment and handed over
its rich stores to the enemy. The communication with the south was
by this means secured to the Roman army; but Perseus had strongly
barricaded himself in his former well-chosen position on the bank of
the little river Elpius, and there checked the farther advance of the
Romans. So the Roman army remained, during the rest of the summer and
the winter, hemmed in in the farthest corner of Thessaly; and, while
the crossing of the passes was certainly a success and the first
substantial one in the war, it was due not to the ability of the
Roman, but to the blundering of the Macedonian, general. The Roman
fleet in vain attempted the capture of Demetrias, and performed no
exploit whatever. The light ships of Perseus boldly cruised between
the Cyclades, protected the corn-vessels destined for Macedonia, and
attacked the transports of the enemy. With the western army matters
were still worse: Appius Claudius could do nothing with his weakened
division, and the contingent which he asked from Achaia was prevented
from coming to him by the jealousy of the consul. Moreover, Genthius
had allowed himself to be bribed by Perseus with the promise of a
great sum of money to break with Rome, and to imprison the Roman
envoys; whereupon the frugal king deemed it superfluous to pay the
money which he had promised, since Genthius was now forsooth
compelled, independently of it, to substitute an attitude of decided
hostility to Rome for the ambiguous position which he had hitherto
maintained. Accordingly the Romans had a further petty war by the
side of the great one, which had already lasted three years. In fact
had Perseus been able to part with his money, he might easily have
aroused enemies still more dangerous to the Romans. A Celtic host
under Clondicus--10,000 horsemen and as many infantry--offered to take
service with him in Macedonia itself; but they could not agree as to
the pay. In Hellas too there was such a ferment that a guerilla
warfare might easily have been kindled with a little dexterity and a
full exchequer; but, as Perseus had no desire to give and the Greeks
did nothing gratuitously, the land remained quiet.


At length the Romans resolved to send the right man to Greece. This
was Lucius Aemilius Paullus, son of the consul of the same name that
fell at Cannae; a man of the old nobility but of humble means, and
therefore not so successful in the comitia as on the battle-field,
where he had remarkably distinguished himself in Spain and still more
so in Liguria. The people elected him for the second time consul in
the year 586 on account of his merits--a course which was at that
time rare and exceptional. He was in all respects the right man: an
excellent general of the old school, strict as respected both himself
and his troops, and, notwithstanding his sixty years, still hale and
vigorous; an incorruptible magistrate--"one of the few Romans of that
age, to whom one could not offer money," as a contemporary says of
him--and a man of Hellenic culture, who, even when commander-in-chief,
embraced the opportunity of travelling through Greece to inspect its
works of art.

Perseus Is Driven Back To Pydna
Battle Of Pydna
Perseus Taken Prisoner

As soon as the new general arrived in the camp at Heracleum, he gave
orders for the ill-guarded pass at Pythium to be surprised by Publius
Nasica, while skirmishes between the outposts in the channel of the
river Elpius occupied the attention of the Macedonians; the enemy was
thus turned, and was obliged to retreat to Pydna. There on the Roman
4th of September, 586, or on the 22nd of June of the Julian calendar
--an eclipse of the moon, which a scientific Roman officer announced
beforehand to the army that it might not be regarded as a bad omen,
affords in this case the means of determining the date--the outposts
accidentally fell into conflict as they were watering their horses
after midday; and both sides determined at once to give the battle,
which it was originally intended to postpone till the following day.
Passing through the ranks in person, without helmet or shield, the
grey-headed Roman general arranged his men. Scarce were they in
position, when the formidable phalanx assailed them; the general
himself, who had witnessed many a hard fight, afterwards acknowledged
that he had trembled. The Roman vanguard dispersed; a Paelignian
cohort was overthrown and almost annihilated; the legions themselves
hurriedly retreated till they reached a hill close upon the Roman
camp. Here the fortune of the day changed. The uneven ground and the
hurried pursuit had disordered the ranks of the phalanx; the Romans in
single cohorts entered at every gap, and attacked it on the flanks and
in rear; the Macedonian cavalry which alone could have rendered aid
looked calmly on, and soon fled in a body, the king among the
foremost; and thus the fate of Macedonia was decided in less than an
hour. The 3000 select phalangites allowed themselves to be cut down
to the last man; it was as if the phalanx, which fought its last great
battle at Pydna, had itself wished to perish there. The overthrow was
fearful; 20,000 Macedonians lay on the field of battle, 11,000 were
prisoners. The war was at an end, on the fifteenth day after Paullus
had assumed the command; all Macedonia submitted in two days. The
king fled with his gold--he still had more than 6000 talents
(1,460,000 pounds) in his chest--to Samothrace, accompanied by a few
faithful attendants. But he himself put to death one of these,
Evander of Crete, who was to be called to account as instigator of the
attempted assassination of Eumenes; and then the king's pages and his
last comrades also deserted him. For a moment he hoped that the right
of asylum would protect him; but he himself perceived that he was
clinging to a straw. An attempt to take flight to Cotys failed. So
he wrote to the consul; but the letter was not received, because he
had designated himself in it as king. He recognized his fate, and
surrendered to the Romans at discretion with his children and his
treasures, pusillanimous and weeping so as to disgust even his
conquerors. With a grave satisfaction, and with thoughts turning
rather on the mutability of fortune than on his own present success,
the consul received the most illustrious captive whom Roman general
had ever brought home. Perseus died a few years after, as a state
prisoner, at Alba on the Fucine lake;(5) his son in after years
earned a living in the same Italian country town as a clerk.

Thus perished the empire of Alexander the Great, which had subdued and
Hellenized the east, 144 years after its founder's death.

Defeat And Capture Of Genthius

That the tragedy, moreover, might not be without its accompaniment of
farce, at the same time the war against "king" Genthius of Illyria was
also begun and ended by the praetor Lucius Anicius within thirty days.
The piratical fleet was taken, the capital Scodra was captured, and
the two kings, the heir of Alexander the Great and the heir of
Pleuratus, entered Rome side by side as prisoners.

Macedonia Broken up

The senate had resolved that the peril, which the unseasonable
gentleness of Flamininus had brought on Rome, should not recur.
Macedonia was abolished. In the conference at Amphipolis on the
Strymon the Roman commission ordained that the compact, thoroughly
monarchical, single state should be broken up into four republican-
federative leagues moulded on the system of the Greek confederacies,
viz. that of Amphipolis in the eastern regions, that of Thessalonica
with the Chalcidian peninsula, that of Pella on the frontiers of
Thessaly, and that of Pelagonia in the interior. Intermarriages
between persons belonging to different confederacies were to be
invalid, and no one might be a freeholder in more than one of them.
All royal officials, as well as their grown-up sons, were obliged to
leave the country and resort to Italy on pain of death; the Romans
still dreaded, and with reason, the throbbings of the ancient loyalty.
The law of the land and the former constitution otherwise remained in
force; the magistrates were of course nominated by election in each
community, and the power in the communities as well as in the
confederacies was placed in the hands of the upper class. The royal
domains and royalties were not granted to the confederacies, and these
were specially prohibited from working the gold and silvei mines,
a chief source of the national wealth; but in 596 they were again
permitted to work at least the silver-mines.(6) The import of salt,
and the export of timber for shipbuilding, were prohibited. The land-
tax hitherto paid to the king ceased, and the confederacies and
communities were left to tax themselves; but these had to pay to Rome
half of the former land-tax, according to a rate fixed once for all,
amounting in all to 100 talents annually (24,000 pounds).(7) The
whole land was for ever disarmed, and the fortress of Demetrias was
razed; on the northern frontier alone a chain of posts was to be
retained to guard against the incursions of the barbarians. Of the
arms given up, the copper shields were sent to Rome, and the rest
were burnt.

The Romans gained their object. The Macedonian land still on two
occasions took up arms at the call of princes of the old reigning
house; but otherwise from that time to the present day it has remained
without a history.

Illyria Broken Up

Illyria was treated in a similar way. The kingdom of Genthius was
split up into three small free states. There too the freeholders paid
the half of the former land-tax to their new masters, with the
exception of the towns, which had adhered to Rome and in return
obtained exemption from land-tax--an exception, which there was no
opportunity to make in the case of Macedonia. The Illyrian piratic
fleet was confiscated, and presented to the more reputable Greek
communities along that coast. The constant annoyances, which the
Illyrians inflicted on the neighbours by their corsairs, were in this
way put an end to, at least for a lengthened period.


Cotys in Thrace, who was difficult to be reached and might
conveniently be used against Eumenes, obtained pardon and received
back his captive son.

Thus the affairs of the north were settled, and Macedonia also was at
last released from the yoke of monarchy--in fact Greece was more free
than ever; a king no longer existed anywhere.

Humiliation Of The Greeks In General
Course Pursued With Pergamus

But the Romans did not confine themselves to cutting the nerves and
sinews of Macedonia. The senate resolved at once to render all the
Hellenic states, friend and foe, for ever incapable of harm, and to
reduce all of them alike to the same humble clientship. The course
pursued may itself admit of justification; but the mode in which it
was carried out in the case of the more powerful of the Greek client-
states was unworthy of a great power, and showed that the epoch of
the Fabii and the Scipios was at an end.

The state most affected by this change in the position of parties was
the kingdom of the Attalids, which had been created and fostered by
Rome to keep Macedonia in check, and which now, after the destruction
of Macedonia, was forsooth no longer needed. It was not easy to find
a tolerable pretext for depriving the prudent and considerate Eumenes
of his privileged position, and allowing him to fall into disfavour.
All at once, about the time when the Romans were encamped at
Heracleum, strange reports were circulated regarding him--that he was
in secret intercourse with Perseus; that his fleet had been suddenly,
as it were, wafted away; that 500 talents had been offered for his
non-participation in the campaign and 1500 for his mediation to
procure peace, and that the agreement had only broken down through the
avarice of Perseus. As to the Pergamene fleet, the king, after having
paid his respects to the consul, went home with it at the same time
that the Roman fleet went into winter quarters. The story about
corruption was as certainly a fable as any newspaper canard of the
present day; for that the rich, cunning, and consistent Attalid, who
had primarily occasioned the breach between Rome and Macedonia by
his journey in 582 and had been on that account wellnigh assassinated
by the banditti of Perseus, should--at the moment when the real
difficulties of a war, of whose final issue, moreover, he could never
have had any serious doubt, were overcome--have sold to the instigator
of the murder his share in the spoil for a few talents, and should
have perilled the work of long years for so pitiful a consideration,
may be set down not merely as a fabrication, but as a very silly one.
That no proof was found either in the papers of Perseus or elsewhere,
is sufficiently certain; for even the Romans did not venture to
express those suspicions aloud, But they gained their object. Their
wishes appeared in the behaviour of the Roman grandees towards
Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, who had commanded the Pergamene
auxiliary troops in Greece. Their brave and faithful comrade was
received in Rome with open arms and invited to ask not for his
brother, but for himself--the senate would be glad to give him a
kingdom of his own. Attalus asked nothing but Aenus and Maronea. The
senate thought that this was only a preliminary request, and granted
it with great politeness. But when he took his departure without
having made any further demands, and the senate came to perceive that
the reigning family in Pergamus did not live on such terms with each
other as were customary in princely houses, Aenus and Maronea were
declared free cities. The Pergamenes obtained not a foot's breadth
of territory out of the spoil of Macedonia; if after the victory over
Antiochus the Romans had still saved forms as respected Philip, they
were now disposed to hurt and to humiliate. About this time the
senate appears to have declared Pamphylia, for the possession of which
Eumenes and Antiochus had hitherto contended, independent. What was
of more importance, the Galatians--who had been substantially in the
power of Eumenes, ever since he had expelled the king of Pontus by
force of arms from Caiatia and had on making peace extorted from him
the promise that he would maintain no further communication with the
Galatian princes--now, reckoning beyond doubt on the variance that had
taken place between Eumenes and the Romans, if not directly instigated
by the latter, rose against Eumenes, overran his kingdom, and brought
him into great danger. Eumenes besought the mediation of the Romans;
the Roman envoy declared his readiness to mediate, but thought it
better that Attalus, who commanded the Pergamene army, should not
accompany him lest the barbarians might be put into ill humour.
Singularly enough, he accomplished nothing; in fact, he told on
his return that his mediation had only exasperated the barbarians.
No long time elapsed before the independence of the Galatians was
expressly recognized and guaranteed by the senate. Eumenes determined
to proceed to Rome in person, and to plead his cause in the senate.
But the latter, as if troubled by an evil conscience, suddenly decreed
that in future kings should not be allowed to come to Rome; and
despatched a quaestor to meet him at Brundisium, to lay before him
this decree of the senate, to ask him what he wanted, and to hint to
him that they would be glad to see his speedy departure. The king was
long silent; at length he said that he desired nothing farther, and
re-embarked. He saw how matters stood: the epoch of half-powerful and
half-free alliance was at an end; that of impotent subjection began.

Humiliation Of Rhodes

Similar treatment befell the Rhodians. They had a singularly
privileged position: their relation to Rome assumed the form not of
symmachy properly so called, but of friendly equality; it did not
prevent them from entering into alliances of any kind, and did not
compel them to supply the Romans with a contingent on demand. This
very circumstance was presumably the real reason why their good
understanding with Rome had already for some time been impaired.
The first dissensions with Rome had arisen in consequence of the
rising of the Lycians, who were handed over to Rhodes after the defeat
of Antiochus, against their oppressors who had (576) cruelly reduced
them to slavery as revolted subjects; the Lycians, however, asserted
that they were not subjects but allies of the Rhodians, and prevailed
with this plea in the Roman senate, which was invited to settle the
doubtful meaning of the instrument of peace. But in this result a
justifiable sympathy with the victims of grievous oppression had
perhaps the chief share; at least nothing further was done on the part
of the Romans, who left this as well as other Hellenic quarrels to
take their course. When the war with Perseus broke out, the Rhodians,
like all other sensible Greeks, viewed it with regret, and blamed
Eumenes in particular as the instigator of it, so that his festal
embassy was not even permitted to be present at the festival of Helios
in Rhodes. But this did not prevent them from adhering to Rome and
keeping the Macedonian party, which existed in Rhodes as well as
everywhere else, aloof from the helm of affairs. The permission given
to them in 585 to export grain from Sicily shows the continuance of
the good understanding with Rome. All of a sudden, shortly before the
battle of Pydna, Rhodian envoys appeared at the Roman head-quarters
and in the Roman senate, announcing that the Rhodians would no longer
tolerate this war which was injurious to their Macedonian traffic and
their revenue from port-dues, that they were disposed themselves to
declare war against the party which should refuse to make peace, and
that with this view they had already concluded an alliance with Crete
and with the Asiatic cities. Many caprices are possible in a republic
governed by primary assemblies; but this insane intervention of a
commercial city--which can only have been resolved on after the
fall of the pass of Tempe was known at Rhodes--requires special
explanation. The key to it is furnished by the well-attested account
that the consul Quintus Marcius, that master of the "new-fashioned
diplomacy," had in the camp at Heracleum (and therefore after the
occupation of the pass of Tempe) loaded the Rhodian envoy Agepolis
with civilities and made an underhand request to him to mediate a
peace. Republican wrongheadedness and vanity did the rest; the
Rhodians fancied that the Romans had given themselves up as lost;
they were eager to play the part of mediator among four great powers
at once; communications were entered into with Perseus; Rhodian envoys
with Macedonian sympathies said more than they should have said; and
they were caught. The senate, which doubtless was itself for the most
part unaware of those intrigues, heard the strange announcement, as
may be conceived, with indignation, and was glad of the favourable
opportunity to humble the haughty mercantile city. A warlike praetor
went even so far as to propose to the people a declaration of war
against Rhodes. In vain the Rhodian ambassadors repeatedly on their
knees adjured the senate to think of the friendship of a hundred and
forty years rather than of the one offence; in vain they sent the
heads of the Macedonian party to the scaffold or to Rome; in vain they
sent a massive wreath of gold in token of their gratitude for the non-
declaration of war. The upright Cato indeed showed that strictly the
Rhodians had committed no offence and asked whether the Romans were
desirous to undertake the punishment of wishes and thoughts, and
whether they could blame the nations for being apprehensive that Rome
might allow herself all license if she had no longer any one to fear?
His words and warnings were in vain. The senate deprived the Rhodians
of their possessions on the mainland, which yielded a yearly produce
of 120 talents (29,000 pounds). Still heavier were the blows aimed at
the Rhodian commerce. The very prohibition of the import of salt to,
and of the export of shipbuilding timber from, Macedonia appears to
have been directed against Rhodes. Rhodian commerce was still more
directly affected by the erection of the free port at Delos; the
Rhodian customs-dues, which hitherto had produced 1,000,000 drachmae
(41,000 pounds) annually, sank in a very brief period to 150,000
drachmae (6180 pounds). Generally, the Rhodians were paralyzed in
their freedom of action and in their liberal and bold commercial
policy, and the state began to languish. Even the alliance asked
for was at first refused, and was only renewed in 590 after urgent
entreaties. The equally guilty but powerless Cretans escaped with
a sharp rebuke.

Intervention In The Syro-Egyptian War

With Syria and Egypt the Romans could go to work more summarily.
War had broken out between them; and Coelesyria and Palaestina formed
once more the subject of dispute. According to the assertion of the
Egyptians, those provinces had been ceded to Egypt on the marriage of
the Syrian Cleopatra: this however the court of Babylon, which was in
actual possession, disputed. Apparently the charging of her dowry on
the taxes of the Coelesyrian cities gave occasion to the quarrel, and
the Syrian side was in the right; the breaking out of the war was
occasioned by the death of Cleopatra in 581, with which at latest the
payments of revenue terminated. The war appears to have been begun by
Egypt; but king Antiochus Epiphanes gladly embraced the opportunity
of once more--and for the last time--endeavouring to achieve the
traditional aim of the policy of the Seleucidae, the acquisition of
Egypt, while the Romans were employed in Macedonia. Fortune seemed
favourable to him. The king of Egypt at that time, Ptolemy VI,
Philometor, the son of Cleopatra, had hardly passed the age of boyhood
and had bad advisers; after a great victory on the Syro-Egyptian
frontier Antiochus was able to advance into the territories of his
nephew in the same year in which the legions landed in Greece (583),
and soon had the person of the king in his power. Matters began to
look as if Antiochus wished to possess himself of all Egypt in
Philometor's name; Alexandria accordingly closed its gates against
him, deposed Philometor, and nominated as king in his stead his
younger brother, named Euergetes II, or the Fat. Disturbances in his
own kingdom recalled the Syrian king from Egypt; when he returned, he
found that the brothers had come to an understanding during his
absence; and he then continued the war against both. Just as he lay
before Alexandria, not long after the battle of Pydna (586), the Roman
envoy Gaius Popillius, a harsh rude man, arrived, and intimated to him
the command of the senate that he should restore all that he had
conquered and should evacuate Egypt within a set term. Antiochus
asked time for consideration; but the consular drew with his staff a
circle round the king, and bade him declare his intentions before he
stepped beyond the circle. Antiochus replied that he would comply;
and marched off to his capital that he might there, in his character
of "the god, the brilliant bringer of victory," celebrate in Roman
fashion his conquest of Egypt and parody the triumph of Paullus.

Measures Of Security In Greece

Egypt voluntarily submitted to the Roman protectorate; and thereupon
the kings of Babylon also desisted from the last attempt to maintain
their independence against Rome. As with Macedonia in the war waged
by Perseus, the Seleucidae in the war regarding Coelesyria made a
similar and similarly final effort to recover their former power; but
it is a significant indication of the difference between the two
kingdoms, that in the former case the legions, in the latter the
abrupt language of a diplomatist, decided the controversy. In Greece
itself, as the two Boeotian cities had already paid more than a
sufficient penalty, the Molottians alone remained to be punished as
allies of Perseus. Acting on secret orders from the senate, Paullus
in one day gave up seventy townships in Epirus to plunder, and sold
the inhabitants, 150,000 in number, into slavery. The Aetolians lost
Amphipolis, and the Acarnanians Leucas, on account of their equivocal
behaviour; whereas the Athenians, who continued to play the part of
the begging poet in their own Aristophanes, not only obtained a gift
of Delos and Lemnos, but were not ashamed even to petition for the
deserted site of Haliartus, which was assigned to them accordingly.
Thus something was done for the Muses; but more had to be done for
justice. There was a Macedonian party in every city, and therefore
trials for high treason began in all parts of Greece. Whoever had
served in the army of Perseus was immediately executed, whoever was
compromised by the papers of the king or the statements of political
opponents who flocked to lodge informations, was despatched to Rome;
the Achaean Callicrates and the Aetolian Lyciscus distinguished
themselves in the trade of informers. In this way the more
conspicuous patriots among the Thessalians, Aetolians, Acarnanians,
Lesbians and so forth, were removed from their native land; and,
in particular, more than a thousand Achaeans were thus disposed of
--a step taken with the view not so much of prosecuting those who were
carried off, as of silencing the childish opposition of the Hellenes.

To the Achaeans, who, as usual, were not content till they got the
answer which they anticipated, the senate, wearied by constant
requests for the commencement of the investigation, at length roundly
declared that till further orders the persons concerned were to remain
in Italy. There they were placed in country towns in the interior,
and tolerably well treated; but attempts to escape were punished with
death. The position of the former officials removed from Macedonia
was, in all probability, similar. This expedient, violent as it was,
was still, as things stood, the most lenient, and the enraged Greeks
of the Roman party were far from content with the paucity of the
executions. Lyciscus had accordingly deemed it proper, by way of
preliminary, to have 500 of the leading men of the Aetolian patriotic
party slain at the meeting of the diet; the Roman commission, which
needed the man, suffered the deed to pass unpunished, and merely
censured the employment of Roman soldiers in the execution of this
Hellenic usage. We may presume, however, that the Romans instituted
the system of deportation to Italy partly in order to prevent such
horrors. As in Greece proper no power existed even of such importance
as Rhodes or Pergamus, there was no need in its case for any further
humiliation; the steps taken were taken only in the exercise of
justice--in the Roman sense, no doubt, of that term--and for
the prevention of the most scandalous and palpable outbreaks of
party discord.

Rome And Her Dependencies

All the Hellenistic states had thus been completely subjected to the
protectorate of Rome, and the whole empire of Alexander the Great had
fallen to the Roman commonwealth just as if the city had inherited it
from his heirs. From all sides kings and ambassadors flocked to Rome
to congratulate her; and they showed that fawning is never more abject
than when kings are in the antechamber. King Massinissa, who only
desisted from presenting himself in person on being expressly
prohibited from doing so, ordered his son to declare that he
regarded himself as merely the beneficiary, and the Romans as the true
proprietors, of his kingdom, and that he would always be content with
what they were willing to leave to him. There was at least truth
in this. But Prusias king of Bithynia, who had to atone for his
neutrality, bore off the palm in this contest of flattery; he fell on
his face when he was conducted into the senate, and did homage to "the
delivering gods." As he was so thoroughly contemptible, Polybius tells
us, they gave him a polite reply, and presented him with the fleet
of Perseus.

The moment was at least well chosen for such acts of homage. Polybius
dates from the battle of Pydna the full establishment of the universal
empire of Rome. It was in fact the last battle in which a civilized
state confronted Rome in the field on a footing of equality with her
as a great power; all subsequent struggles were rebellions or wars
with peoples beyond the pale of the Romano-Greek civilization
--with barbarians, as they were called. The whole civilized world
thenceforth recognized in the Roman senate the supreme tribunal, whose
commissions decided in the last resort between kings and nations; and
to acquire its language and manners foreign princes and youths of
quality resided in Rome. A clear and earnest attempt to get rid of
this dominion was in reality made only once--by the great Mithradates
of Pontus. The battle of Pydna, moreover, marks the last occasion on
which the senate still adhered to the state-maxim that they should, if
possible, hold no possessions and maintain no garrisons beyond the
Italian seas, but should keep the numerous states dependent on them in
order by a mere political supremacy. The aim of their policy was that
these states should neither decline into utter weakness and anarchy,
as had nevertheless happened in Greece nor emerge out of their half-
free position into complete independence, as Macedonia had attempted
to do not without success. No state was to be allowed utterly to
perish, but no one was to be permitted to stand on its own resources.
Accordingly the vanquished foe held at least an equal, often a better,
position with the Roman diplomatists than the faithful ally; and,
while a defeated opponent was reinstated, those who attempted to
reinstate themselves were abased--as the Aetolians, Macedonia after
the Asiatic war, Rhodes, and Pergamus learned by experience. But not
only did this part of protector soon prove as irksome to the masters
as to the servants; the Roman protectorate, with its ungrateful
Sisyphian toil that continually needed to be begun afresh, showed
itself to be intrinsically untenable. Indications of a change of
system, and of an increasing disinclination on the part of Rome to
tolerate by its side intermediate states even in such independence as
was possible for them, were very clearly given in the destruction of
the Macedonian monarchy after the battle of Pydna, The more and more
frequent and more and more unavoidable intervention in the internal
affairs of the petty Greek states through their misgovernment and
their political and social anarchy; the disarming of Macedonia, where
the northern frontier at any rate urgently required a defence
different from that of mere posts; and, lastly, the introduction of
the payment of land-tax to Rome from Macedonia and Illyria, were so
many symptoms of the approaching conversion of the client states
into subjects of Rome.

The Italian And Extra-Italian Policy Of Rome

If, in conclusion, we glance back at the career of Rome from the union
of Italy to the dismemberment of Macedonia, the universal empire of
Rome, far from appearing as a gigantic plan contrived and carried out
by an insatiable thirst for territorial aggrandizement, appears to
have been a result which forced itself on the Roman government
without, and even in opposition to, its wish. It is true that the
former view naturally suggests itself--Sallust is right when he makes
Mithradates say that the wars of Rome with tribes, cities, and kings
originated in one and the same prime cause, the insatiable longing
after dominion and riches; but it is an error to give forth this
judgment--influenced by passion and the event--as a historical fact.
It is evident to every one whose observation is not superficial, that
the Roman government during this whole period wished and desired
nothing but the sovereignty of Italy; that they were simply desirous
not to have too powerful neighbours alongside of them; and that--not
out of humanity towards the vanquished, but from the very sound view
that they ought not to suffer the kernel of their empire to be stifled
by the shell--they earnestly opposed the introduction first of Africa,
then of Greece, and lastly of Asia into the sphere of the Roman
protectorate, till circumstances in each case compelled, or at least
suggested with irresistible force, the extension of that sphere. The
Romans always asserted that they did not pursue a policy of conquest,
and that they were always the party assailed; and this was something
more, at any rate, than a mere phrase. They were in fact driven to
all their great wars with the exception of that concerning Sicily--to
those with Hannibal and Antiochus, no less than to those with Philip
and Perseus--either by a direct aggression or by an unparalleled
disturbance of the existing political relations; and hence they were
ordinarily taken by surprise on their outbreak. That they did not
after victory exhibit the moderation which they ought to have done in
the interest more especially of Italy itself; that the retention of
Spain, for instance, the undertaking of the guardianship of Africa,
and above all the half-fanciful scheme of bringing liberty everywhere
to the Greeks, were in the light of Italian policy grave errors, is
sufficiently clear. But the causes of these errors were, on the
one hand a blind dread of Carthage, on the other a still blinder
enthusiasm for Hellenic liberty; so little did the Romans exhibit
during this period the lust of conquest, that they, on the contrary,
displayed a very judicious dread of it. The policy of Rome throughout
was not projected by a single mightly intellect and bequeathed
traditionally from generation to generation; it was the policy of a
very able but somewhat narrow-minded deliberative assembly, which had
far too little power of grand combination, and far too much of a right
instinct for the preservation of its own commonwealth, to devise
projects in the spirit of a Caesar or a Napoleon. The universal
empire of Rome had its ultimate ground in the political development of
antiquity in general. The ancient world knew nothing of a balance of
power among nations; and therefore every nation which had attained
internal unity strove either directly to subdue its neighbors, as did
the Hellenic states, or at any rate to render them innocuous, as Rome
did,--an effort, it is true, which also issued ultimately in
subjugation. Egypt was perhaps the only great power in antiquity
which seriously pursued a system of equilibrium; on the opposite
system Seleucus and Antigonous, Hannibal and Scipio, came into
collision. And, if it seems to us sad that all the other richly-
endowed and highly-developed nations of antiquity had to perish in
order to enrich a single one out of the whole, and that all in the
long run appear to have only arisen to contribute to the greatness
of Italy and to the decay involved in that greatness, yet historical
justice must acknowledge that this result was not produced by the
military superiority of the legion over the phalanx, but was the
necessary development of the international relations of antiquity
generally-so that the issue was not decided by provoking chance,
but was the fulfillment of an unchangeable, and therefore
endurable, destiny.

Notes For Chapter X

1. --Ide gar prasde panth alion ammi dedukein-- (i. 102).

2. II. VII. Last Struggles In Italy

3. The legal dissolution of the Boeotian confederacy, however, took
place not at this time, but only after the destruction of Corinth
(Pausan. vii. 14, 4; xvi. 6).

4. The recently discovered decree of the senate of 9th Oct. 584, which
regulates the legal relations of Thisbae (Ephemeris epigraphica, 1872,
p. 278, fig.; Mitth. d. arch. Inst., in Athen, iv. 235, fig.), gives
a clear insight into these relations.

5. The story, that the Romans, in order at once to keep the promise
which had guaranteed his life and to take vengeance on him, put him
to death by depriving him of sleep, is certainly a fable.

6. The statement of Cassiodorus, that the Macedonian mines were
reopened in 596, receives its more exact interpretation by means of
the coins. No gold coins of the four Macedonias are extant; either
therefore the gold-mines remained closed, or the gold extracted was
converted into bars. On the other hand there certainly exist silver
coins of Macedonia -prima- (Amphipolis) in which district the silver-
mines were situated. For the brief period, during which they must
have been struck (596-608), the number of them is remarkably great,
and proves either that the mines were very energetically worked, or
that the old royal money was recoined in large quantity.

7. The statement that the Macedonian commonwealth was "relieved of
seignorial imposts and taxes" by the Romans (Polyb. xxxvii. 4) does
not necessarily require us to assume a subsequent remission of these
taxes: it is sufficient, for the explanation of Polybius' words, to
assume that the hitherto seignorial tax now became a public one. The
continuance of the constitution granted to the province of Macedonia
by Paullus down to at least the Augustan age (Liv. xlv. 32; Justin,
xxxiii. 2), would, it is true, be compatible also with the remission
of the taxes.

Chapter XI

The Government And The Governed

Formation Of New Parties

The fall of the patriciate by no means divested the Roman commonwealth
of its aristocratic character. We have already(1) indicated that the
plebeian party carried within it that character from the first as well
as, and in some sense still more decidedly than, the patriciate; for,
while in the old body of burgesses an absolute equality of rights
prevailed, the new constitution set out from a distinction between
the senatorial houses who were privileged in point of burgess
rights and of burgess usufructs, and the mass of the other citizens.
Immediately, therefore, on the abolition of the patriciate and the
formal establishment of civic equality, a new aristocracy and a
corresponding opposition were formed; and we have already shown how
the former engrafted itself as it were on the fallen patriciate, and
how, accordingly, the first movements of the new party of progress
were mixed up with the last movements of the old opposition between
the orders.(2) The formation of these new parties began in the fifth
century, but they assumed their definite shape only in the century
which followed. The development of this internal change is, as it
were, drowned amidst the noise of the great wars and victories, and
not merely so, but the process of formation is in this case more
withdrawn from view than any other in Roman history. Like a crust
of ice gathering imperceptibly over the surface of a stream and
imperceptibly confining it more and more, this new Roman aristocracy
silently arose; and not less imperceptibly, like the current
concealing itself beneath and slowly extending, there arose in
opposition to it the new party of progress. It is very difficult
to sum up in a general historical view the several, individually
insignificant, traces of these two antagonistic movements, which do
not for the present yield their historical product in any distinct
actual catastrophe. But the freedom hitherto enjoyed in the
commonwealth was undermined, and the foundation for future revolutions
was laid, during this epoch; and the delineation of these as well as
of the development of Rome in general would remain imperfect, if we
should fail to give some idea of the strength of that encrusting ice,
of the growth of the current beneath, and of the fearful moaning and
cracking that foretold the mighty breaking up which was at hand.

Germs Of The Nobility In The Patriciate

The Roman nobility attached itself, in form, to earlier institutions
belonging to the times of the patriciate. Persons who once had filled
the highest ordinary magistracies of the state not only, as a matter
of course, practically enjoyed all along a higher honour, but also had
at an early period certain honorary privileges associated with their
position. The most ancient of these was doubtless the permission
given to the descendants of such magistrates to place the wax images
of these illustrious ancestors after their death in the family hall,
along the wall where the pedigree was painted, and to have these
images carried, on occasion of the death of members of the family,
in the funeral procession.(3) To appreciate the importance of this
distinction, we must recollect that the honouring of images was
regarded in the Italo-Hellenic view as unrepublican, and on that
account the Roman state-police did not at all tolerate the exhibition
of effigies of the living, and strictly superintended that of effigies
of the dead. With this privilege were associated various external
insignia, reserved by law or custom for such magistrates and their
descendants:--the golden finger-ring of the men, the silver-mounted
trappings of the youths, the purple border on the toga and the golden
amulet-case of the boys (4)--trifling matters, but still important in
a community where civic equality even in external appearance was so
strictly adhered to,(5) and where, even during the second Punic war,
a burgess was arrested and kept for years in prison because he had
appeared in public, in a manner not sanctioned by law, with a garland
of roses upon his head.(6)

Patricio-Plebian Nobility

These distinctions may perhaps have already existed partially in the
time of the patrician government, and, so long as families of higher
and humbler rank were distinguished within the patriciate, may have
served as external insignia for the former; but they certainly only
acquired political importance in consequence of the change of
constitution in 387, by which the plebeian families that attained
the consulate were placed on a footing of equal privilege with the
patrician families, all of whom were now probably entitled to carry
images of their ancestors. Moreover, it was now settled that the
offices of state to which these hereditary privileges were attached
should include neither the lower nor the extraordinary magistracies
nor the tribunate of the plebs, but merely the consulship, the
praetorship which stood on the same level with it,(7) and the curule
aedileship, which bore a part in the administration of public justice
and consequently in the exercise of the sovereign powers of the
state.(8) Although this plebeian nobility, in the strict sense of the
term, could only be formed after the curule offices were opened to
plebeians, yet it exhibited in a short time, if not at the very first,
a certain compactness of organization--doubtless because such a
nobility had long been prefigured in the old senatorial plebeian
families. The result of the Licinian laws in reality therefore
amounted nearly to what we should now call the creation of a batch of
peers. Now that the plebeian families ennobled by their curule
ancestors were united into one body with the patrician families and
acquired a distinctive position and distinguished power in the
commonwealth, the Romans had again arrived at the point whence they
had started; there was once more not merely a governing aristocracy
and a hereditary nobility--both of which in fact had never
disappeared--but there was a governing hereditary nobility, and the
feud between the gentes in possession of the government and the
commons rising in revolt against the gentes could not but begin
afresh. And matters very soon reached that stage. The nobility was
not content with its honorary privileges which were matters of
comparative indifference, but strove after separate and sole political
power, and sought to convert the most important institutions of the
state--the senate and the equestrian order--from organs of the
commonwealth into organs of the plebeio-patrician aristocracy.

The Nobility In Possession Of The Senate

The dependence -de jure- of the Roman senate of the republic, more
especially of the larger patricio-plebeian senate, on the magistracy
had rapidly become lax, and had in fact been converted into
independence. The subordination of the public magistracies to
the state-council, introduced by the revolution of 244;(9) the
transference of the right of summoning men to the senate from the
consul to the censor;(10) lastly, and above all, the legal recognition
of the right of those who had been curule magistrates to a seat and
vote in the senate,(11) had converted the senate from a council
summoned by the magistrates and in many respects dependent on them
into a governing corporation virtually independent, and in a certain
sense filling up its own ranks; for the two modes by which its members
obtained admission--election to a curule office and summoning by the
censor--were both virtually in the power of the governing board
itself. The burgesses, no doubt, at this epoch were still too
independent to allow the entire exclusion of non-nobles from the
senate, and the nobility were perhaps still too judicious even to wish
for this; but, owing to the strictly aristocratic gradations in the
senate itself--in which those who had been curule magistrates were
sharply distinguished, according to their respective classes of
-consulares-, -praetorii-, and -aedilicii-, from the senators who
had not entered the senate through a curule office and were therefore
excluded from debate--the non-nobles, although they probably sat in
considerable numbers in the senate, were reduced to an insignificant
and comparatively uninfluential position in it, and the senate became
substantially a mainstay of the nobility.

The Nobility In Possession Of The Equestrian Centuries

The institution of the equites was developed into a second, less
important but yet far from unimportant, organ of the nobility. As the
new hereditary nobility had not the power to usurp sole possession of
the comitia, it necessarily became in the highest degree desirable
that it should obtain at least a separate position within the body
representing the community. In the assembly of the tribes there
was no method of managing this; but the equestrian centuries under
the Servian organization seemed as it were created for the very
purpose. The 1800 horses which the community furnished(12) were
constitutionally disposed of likewise by the censors. It was, no
doubt, the duty of these to select the equites on military grounds and
at their musters to insist that all horsemen incapacitated by age or
otherwise, or at all unserviceable, should surrender their public
horse; but the very nature of the institution implied that the
equestrian horses should be given especially to men of means, and it
was not at all easy to hinder the censors from looking to genteel
birth more than to capacity, and from allowing men of standing who
were once admitted, senators particularly, to retain their horse
beyond the proper time. Perhaps it was even fixed by law that the
senator might retain it as long as he wished. Accordingly it became
at least practically the rule for the senators to vote in the eighteen
equestrian centuries, and the other places in these were assigned
chiefly to the young men of the nobility. The military system, of
course, suffered from this not so much through the unfitness for
effective service of no small part of the legionary cavalry, as
through the destruction of military equality to which the change gave
rise, inasmuch as the young men of rank more and more withdrew from
service in the infantry. The closed aristocratic corps of the equites
proper came to set the tone for the whole legionary cavalry, taken
from the citizens who were of highest position by descent and wealth.
This enables us in some degree to understand why the equites during
the Sicilian war refused to obey the order of the consul Gaius
Aurelius Cotta that they should work at the trenches with the
legionaries (502), and why Cato, when commander-in-chief of the army
in Spain, found himself under the necessity of addressing a severe
reprimand to his cavalry. But this conversion of the burgess-cavalry
into a mounted guard of nobles redounded not more decidedly to the
injury of the commonwealth than to the advantage of the nobility,
which acquired in the eighteen equestrian centuries a suffrage not
merely separate but giving the tone to the rest.

Separation Of The Orders In The Theatre

Of a kindred character was the formal separation of the places
assigned to the senatorial order from those occupied by the rest of
the multitude as spectators at the national festivals. It was the
great Scipio, who effected this change in his second consulship in
560. The national festival was as much an assembly of the people as
were the centuries convoked for voting; and the circumstance that the
former had no resolutions to pass made the official announcement of a
distinction between the ruling order and the body of subjects--which
the separation implied--all the more significant. The innovation
accordingly met with much censure even from the ruling class, because
it was simply invidious and not useful, and because it gave a very
manifest contradiction to the efforts of the more prudent portion of
the aristocracy to conceal their exclusive government under the forms
of civil equality.

The Censorship A Prop Of The Nobility

These circumstances explain, why the censorship became the pivot of
the later republican constitution; why an office, originally standing
by no means in the first rank, came to be gradually invested with
external insignia which did not at all belong to it in itself and with
an altogether unique aristocratic-republican glory, and was viewed as
the crown and completion of a well-conducted public career; and why
the government looked upon every attempt of the opposition to
introduce their men into this office, or even to hold the censor
responsible to the people for his administration during or after his
term of office, as an attack on their palladium, and presented a
united front of resistance to every such attempt. It is sufficient
in this respect to mention the storm which the candidature of Cato for
the censorship provoked, and the measures, so extraordinarily reckless
and in violation of all form, by which the senate prevented the
judicial prosecution of the two unpopular censors of the year 550.
But with their magnifying the glory of the censorship the government
combined a characteristic distrust of this, their most important and
for that very reason most dangerous, instrument. It was thoroughly
necessary to leave to the censors absolute control over the personal
composition of the senate and the equites; for the right of exclusion
could not well be separated from the right of summoning, and it was
indispensable to retain such a right, not so much for the purpose of
removing from the senate capable men of the opposition--a course which
the smooth-going government of that age cautiously avoided--as for the
purpose of preserving around the aristocracy that moral halo, without
which it must have speedily become a prey to the opposition. The
right of ejection was retained; but what they chiefly needed was the
glitter of the naked blade--the edge of it, which they feared, they
took care to blunt. Besides the check involved in the nature of the
office--under which the lists of the members of the aristocratic
corporations were liable to revision only at intervals of five years
--and besides the limitations resulting from the right of veto vested
in the colleague and the right of cancelling vested in the successor,
there was added a farther check which exercised a very sensible
influence; a usage equivalent to law made it the duty of the censor
not to erase from the list any senator or knight without specifying in
writing the grounds for his decision, or, in other words, adopting, as
a rule, a quasi-judicial procedure.

Remodelling Of The Constitution According To The Views Of The Nobility
Inadequate Number Of Magistrates

In this political position--mainly based on the senate, the equites,
and the censorship--the nobility not only usurped in substance the
government, but also remodelled the constitution according to their
own views. It was part of their policy, with a view to keep up the
appreciation of the public magistracies, to add to the number of these
as little as possible, and to keep it far below what was required by
the extension of territory and the increase of business. Only the
most urgent exigencies were barely met by the division of the judicial
functions hitherto discharged by a single praetor between two judges
--one of whom tried the lawsuits between Roman burgesses, and the
other those that arose between non-burgesses or between burgess and
non-burgess--in 511, and by the nomination of four auxiliary consuls
for the four transmarine provinces of Sicily (527), Sardinia including
Corsica (527), and Hither and Further Spain (557). The far too
summary mode of initialing processes in Rome, as well as the
increasing influence of the official staff, are doubtless traceable
in great measure to the practically inadequate numbers of the
Roman magistracy.

Election Of Officers In The Comitia

Among the innovations originated by the government--which were none
the less innovations, that almost uniformly they changed not the
letter, but merely the practice of the existing constitution--the most
prominent were the measures by which the filling up of officers' posts
as well as of civil magistracies was made to depend not, as the letter
of the constitution allowed and its spirit required, simply on merit
and ability, but more and more on birth and seniority. As regards the
nomination of staff-officers this was done not in form, but all the
more in substance. It had already, in the course of the previous
period, been in great part transferred from the general to the
burgesses;(13) in this period came the further step, that the whole
staff-officers of the regular yearly levy--the twenty-four military
tribunes of the four ordinary legions--were nominated in the -comitia
tributa-. Thus a line of demarcation more and more insurmountable was
drawn between the subalterns, who gained their promotion from the
general by punctual and brave service, and the staff, which obtained
its privileged position by canvassing the burgesses.(14) With a view
to check simply the worst abuses in this respect and to prevent young
men quite untried from holding these important posts, it became
necessary to require, as a preliminary to the bestowal of staff
appointments, evidence of a certain number of years of service.
Nevertheless, when once the military tribunate, the true pillar of the
Roman military system, was laid down as the first stepping-stone in
the political career of the young aristocrats, the obligation of
service inevitably came to be frequently eluded, and the election of
officers became liable to all the evils of democratic canvassing and
of aristocratic exclusiveness. It was a cutting commentary on the new
institution, that in serious wars (as in 583) it was found necessary
to suspend this democratic mode of electing officers, and to leave
once more to the general the nomination of his staff.

Restrictions On The Election Of Consuls And Censors

In the case of civil offices, the first and chief object was to
limit re-election to the supreme magistracies. This was certainly
necessary, if the presidency of annual kings was not to be an empty
name; and even in the preceding period reelection to the consulship
was not permitted till after the lapse often years, while in the case
if the censorship it was altogether forbidden.(15) No farther law was
passed in the period before us; but an increased stringency in its
application is obvious from the fact that, while the law as to the ten
years' interval was suspended in 537 during the continuance of the war
in Italy, there was no farther dispensation from it afterwards, and
indeed towards the close of this period re-election seldom occurred at
all. Moreover, towards the end of this epoch (574) a decree of the
people was issued, binding the candidates for public magistracies to
undertake them in a fixed order of succession, and to observe certain
intervals between the offices, and certain limits of age. Custom,
indeed, had long prescribed both of these; but it was a sensibly
felt restriction of the freedom of election, when the customary
qualification was raised into a legal requirement, and the right of
disregarding such requirements in extraordinary cases was withdrawn
from the elective body. In general, admission to the senate was
thrown open to persons belonging to the ruling families without
distinction as to ability, while not only were the poorer and humbler
ranks of the population utterly precluded from access to the offices
of government, but all Roman burgesses not belonging to the hereditary
aristocracy were practically excluded, not indeed exactly from the
senate, but from the two highest magistracies, the consulship and the
censorship. After Manius Curius and Gaius Fabricius,(16) no instance
can be pointed out of a consul who did not belong to the social
aristocracy, and probably no instance of the kind occurred at all.
But the number of the -gentes-, which appear for the first time in the
lists of consuls and censors in the half-century from the beginning of
the war with Hannibal to the close of that with Perseus, is extremely
limited; and by far the most of these, such as the Flaminii, Terentii,
Porcii, Acilii, and Laelii, may be referred to elections by the
opposition, or are traceable to special aristocratic connections.
The election of Gaius Laelius in 564, for instance, was evidently
due to the Scipios. The exclusion of the poorer classes from the
government was, no doubt, required by the altered circumstances of the
case. Now that Rome had ceased to be a purely Italian state and had
adopted Hellenic culture, it was no longer possible to take a small
farmer from the plough and to set him at the head of the community.
But it was neither necessary nor beneficial that the elections should
almost without exception be confined to the narrow circle of the
curule houses, and that a "new man" could only make his way into that
circle by a sort of usurpation.(17) No doubt a certain hereditary
character was inherent not merely in the nature of the senate as
an institution, in so far as it rested from the outset on a
representation of the clans,(18) but in the nature of aristocracy
generally, in so far as statesmanly wisdom and statesmanly experience
are bequeathed from the able father to the able son, and the inspiring
spirit of an illustrious ancestry fans every noble spark within the
human breast into speedier and more brilliant flame. In this sense
the Roman aristocracy had been at all times hereditary; in fact, it
had displayed its hereditary character with great naivete in the old
custom of the senator taking his sons with him to the senate, and of
the public magistrate decorating his sons, as it were by anticipation,
with the insignia of the highest official honour--the purple border of
the consular, and the golden amulet-case of the triumphator. But,
while in the earlier period the hereditariness of the outward dignity
had been to a certain extent conditioned by the inheritance of
intrinsic worth, and the senatorial aristocracy had guided the state
not primarily by virtue of hereditary right, but by virtue of the
highest of all rights of representation--the right of the excellent,
as contrasted with the ordinary, man--it sank in this epoch (and with
specially great rapidity after the end of the Hannibalic war) from its
original high position, as the aggregate of those in the community who
were most experienced in counsel and action, down to an order of lords
filling up its ranks by hereditary succession, and exercising
collegiate misrule.

Family Government

Indeed, matters had already at this time reached such a height, that
out of the grave evil of oligarchy there emerged the still worse evil
of usurpation of power by particular families. We have already
spoken(19) of the offensive family-policy of the conqueror of Zama,
and of his unhappily successful efforts to cover with his own laurels
the incapacity and pitifulness of his brother; and the nepotism of the
Flaminini was, if possible, still more shameless and scandalous than
that of the Scipios. Absolute freedom of election in fact turned to
the advantage of such coteries far more than of the electing body.
The election of Marcus Valerius Corvus to the consulship at twenty-
three had doubtless been for the benefit of the state; but now, when
Scipio obtained the aedileship at twenty-three and the consulate at
thirty, and Flamininus, while not yet thirty years of age, rose from
the quaestorship to the consulship, such proceedings involved serious
danger to the republic. Things had already reached such a pass, that
the only effective barrier against family rule and its consequences
had to be found in a government strictly oligarchical; and this was
the reason why even the party otherwise opposed to the oligarchy
agreed to restrict the freedom of election.

Government Of The Nobility
Internal Administration

The government bore the stamp of this gradual change in the spirit of
the governing class. It is true that the administration of external
affairs was still dominated at this epoch by that consistency and
energy, by which the rule of the Roman community over Italy had been
established. During the severe disciplinary times of the war as to
Sicily the Roman aristocracy had gradually raised itself to the height
of its new position; and if it unconstitutionally usurped for the
senate functions of government which by right foil to be shared
between the magistrates and the comitia alone, it vindicated the step
by its certainly far from brilliant, but sure and steady, pilotage
of the vessel of the state during the Hannibalic storm and the
complications thence arising, and showed to the world that the Roman
senate was alone able, and in many respects alone deserved, to rule
the wide circle of the Italo-Hellenic states. But admitting the noble
attitude of the ruling Roman senate in opposition to the outward foe
--an attitude crowned with the noblest results--we may not overlook
the fact, that in the less conspicuous, and yet far more important
and far more difficult, administration of the internal affairs of the
state, both the treatment of the existing arrangements and the new
institutions betray an almost opposite spirit, or, to speak more
correctly, indicate that the opposite tendency has already acquired
the predominance in this field.

Decline In The Administration

In relation, first of all, to the individual burgess the government
was no longer what it had been. The term "magistrate" meant a man who
was more than other men; and, if he was the servant of the community,
he was for that very reason the master of every burgess. But the
tightness of the rein was now visibly relaxed. Where coteries and
canvassing flourish as they did in the Rome of that age, men are chary
of forfeiting the reciprocal services of their fellows or the favour
of the multitude by stern words and impartial discharge of official
duty. If now and then magistrates appeared who displayed the gravity
and the sternness of the olden time, they were ordinarily, like Cotta
(502) and Cato, new men who had not sprung from the bosom of the
ruling class. It was already something singular, when Paullus, who
had been named commander-in-chief against Perseus, instead of
tendering his thanks in the usual manner to the burgesses, declared
to them that he presumed they had chosen him as general because
they accounted him the most capable of command, and requested them
accordingly not to help him to command, but to be silent and obey.

As To Military Discipline And Administration Of Justice

The supremacy and hegemony of Rome in the territories of the
Mediterranean rested not least on the strictness of her military
discipline and her administration of justice. Undoubtedly she was
still, on the whole, at that time infinitely superior in these
respects to the Hellenic, Phoenician, and Oriental states, which were
without exception thoroughly disorganized; nevertheless grave abuses
were already occurring in Rome. We have previously(20) pointed out
how the wretched character of the commanders-in-chief--and that not
merely in the case of demagogues chosen perhaps by the opposition,
like Gaius Flaminius and Gaius Varro, but of men who were good
aristocrats--had already in the third Macedonian war imperilled the
weal of the state. And the mode in which justice was occasionally
administered is shown by the scene in the camp of the consul Lucius
Quinctius Flamininus at Placentia (562). To compensate a favourite
youth for the gladiatorial games of the capital, which through his
attendance on the consul he had missed the opportunity of seeing, that
great lord had ordered a Boian of rank who had taken refuge in the
Roman camp to be summoned, and had killed him at a banquet with his
own hand. Still worse than the occurrence itself, to which various
parallels might be adduced, was the fact that the perpetrator was not
brought to trial; and not only so, but when the censor Cato on account
of it erased his name from the roll of the senate, his fellow-senators
invited the expelled to resume his senatorial stall in the theatre
--he was, no doubt, the brother of the liberator of the Greeks,
and one of the most powerful coterie-leaders in the senate.

As To The Management Of Finances

The financial system of the Roman community also retrograded rather
than advanced during this epoch. The amount of their revenues,
indeed, was visibly on the increase. The indirect taxes--there were
no direct taxes in Rome--increased in consequence of the enlargement
of the Roman territory, which rendered it necessary, for example, to
institute new customs-offices along the Campanian and Bruttian coasts
at Puteoli, Castra (Squillace), and elsewhere, in 555 and 575. The
same reason led to the new salt-tariff of 550 fixing the scale of
prices at which salt was to be sold in the different districts of
Italy, as it was no longer possible to furnish salt at one and the
same price to the Roman burgesses now scattered throughout the land;
but, as the Roman government probably supplied the burgesses with salt
at cost price, if not below it, this financial measure yielded no gain
to the state. Still more considerable was the increase in the produce
of the domains. The duty indeed, which of right was payable to the
treasury from the Italian domain-lands granted for occupation, was in
the great majority of cases neither demanded nor paid. On the other
hand the -scriptura- was retained; and not only so, but the domains
recently acquired in the second Punic war, particularly the greater
portion of the territory of Capua(21) and that of Leontini,(22)
instead of being given up to occupation, were parcelled out and let to
petty temporary lessees, and the attempts at occupation made in these
cases were opposed with more than usual energy by the government; by
which means the state acquired a considerable and secure source of
income. The mines of the state also, particularly the important
Spanish mines, were turned to profit on lease. Lastly, the revenue
was augmented by the tribute of the transmarine subjects. From
extraordinary sources very considerable sums accrued during this epoch
to the state treasury, particularly the produce of the spoil in the
war with Antiochus, 200 millions of sesterces (2,000,000 pounds), and
that of the war with Perseus, 210 millions of sesterces (2,100,000
pounds)--the latter, the largest sum in cash which ever came at one
time into the Roman treasury.

But this increase of revenue was for the most part counterbalanced by
the increasing expenditure. The provinces, Sicily perhaps excepted,
probably cost nearly as much as they yielded; the expenditure on
highways and other structures rose in proportion to the extension of
territory; the repayment also of the advances (-tributa-) received
from the freeholder burgesses during times of severe war formed a
burden for many a year afterwards on the Roman treasury. To these
fell to be added very considerable losses occasioned to the revenue
by the mismanagement, negligence, or connivance of the supreme
magistrates. Of the conduct of the officials in the provinces, of
their luxurious living at the expense of the public purse, of their
embezzlement more especially of the spoil, of the incipient system of
bribery and extortion, we shall speak in the sequel. How the state
fared generally as regarded the farming of its revenues and the
contracts for supplies and buildings, may be estimated from the
circumstance, that the senate resolved in 587 to desist from the
working of the Macedonian mines that had fallen to Rome, because the
lessees of the minerals would either plunder the subjects or cheat
the exchequer--truly a naive confession of impotence, in which the
controlling board pronounced its own censure. Not only was the duty
from the occupied domain-land allowed tacitly to fall into abeyance,
as has been already mentioned, but private buildings in the capital
and elsewhere were suffered to encroach on ground which was public
property, and the water from the public aqueducts was diverted to
private purposes: great dissatisfaction was created on one occasion
when a censor took serious steps against such trespassers, and
compelled them either to desist from the separate use of the public
property, or to pay the legal rate for the ground and water. The
conscience of the Romans, otherwise in economic matters so scrupulous,
showed, so far as the community was concerned, a remarkable laxity.
"He who steals from a burgess," said Cato, "ends his days in chains
and fetters; but he who steals from the community ends them in gold
and purple." If, notwithstanding the fact that the public property
of the Roman community was fearlessly and with impunity plundered by
officials and speculators, Polybius still lays stress on the rarity
of embezzlement in Rome, while Greece could hardly produce a single
official who had not touched the public money, and on the honesty with
which a Roman commissioner or magistrate would upon his simple word of
honour administer enormous sums, while in the case of the paltriest
sum in Greece ten letters were sealed and twenty witnesses were
required and yet everybody cheated, this merely implies that social
and economic demoralization had advanced much further in Greece than
in Rome, and in particular, that direct and palpable peculation was
not as yet so flourishing in the one case as in the other. The
general financial result is most clearly exhibited to us by the state
of the public buildings, and by the amount of cash in the treasury.
We find in times of peace a fifth, in times of war a tenth, of the
revenues expended on public buildings; which, in the circumstances,
does not seem to have been a very copious outlay. With these sums, as
well as with fines which were not directly payable into the treasury,
much was doubtless done for the repair of the highways in and near the
capital, for the formation of the chief Italian roads,(23) and for the
construction of public buildings. Perhaps the most important of the
building operations in the capital, known to belong to this period,
was the great repair and extension of the network of sewers throughout
the city, contracted for probably in 570, for which 24,000,000
sesterces (240,000 pounds) were set apart at once, and to which it may
be presumed that the portions of the -cloacae- still extant, at least
in the main, belong. To all appearance however, even apart from the
severe pressure of war, this period was inferior to the last section
of the preceding epoch in respect of public buildings; between 482 and
607 no new aqueduct was constructed at Rome. The treasure of the
state, no doubt, increased; the last reserve in 545, when: they found
themselves under the necessity of laying hands on it, amounted only to
164,000 pounds (4000 pounds of gold);(24) whereas a short time after
the close of this period (597) close on 860,000 pounds in precious
metals were stored in the treasury. But, when we take into account
the enormous extraordinary revenues which in the generation after the
close of the Hannibalic war came into the Roman treasury, the latter
sum surprises us rather by its smallness than by its magnitude. So
far as with the extremely meagre statements before us it is allowable
to speak of results, the finances of the Roman state exhibit doubtless
an excess of income over expenditure, but are far from presenting a
brilliant result as a whole.

Italian Subjects
Passive Burgesses

The change in the spirit of the government was most distinctly
apparent in the treatment of the Italian and extra-Italian subjects of
the Roman community. Formerly there had been distinguished in Italy
the ordinary, and the Latin, allied communities, the Roman burgesses
-sine suffragio- and the Roman burgesses with the full franchise. Of
these four classes the third was in the course of this period almost
completely set aside, inasmuch as the course which had been earlier
taken with the communities of passive burgesses in Latium and Sabina,
was now applied also to those of the former Volscian territory, and
these gradually--the last perhaps being in the year 566 Arpinum,
Fundi, and Formiae--obtained full burgess-rights. In Campania Capua
along with a number of minor communities in the neighbourhood was
broken up in consequence of its revolt from Rome in the Hannibalic
war. Although some few communities, such as Velitrae in the Volscian
territory, Teanum and Cumae in Campania, may have remained on their
earlier legal footing, yet, looking at the matter in the main, this
franchise of a passive character may be held as now superseded.


On the other hand there emerged a new class in a position of
peculiar inferiority, without communal freedom and the right to
carry arms, and, in part, treated almost like public slaves
(-peregrini dediticii-); to which, in particular, the members of
the former Campanian, southern Picentine, and Bruttian communities,
that had been in alliance with Hannibal,(25) belonged. To these were
added the Celtic tribes tolerated on the south side of the Alps, whose
position in relation to the Italian confederacy is indeed only known
imperfectly, but is sufficiently characterized as inferior by the
clause embodied in their treaties of alliance with Rome, that no
member of these communities should ever be allowed to acquire
Roman citizenship.(26)


The position of the non-Latin allies had, as we have mentioned
before,(27) undergone a change greatly to their disadvantage in
consequence of the Hannibalic war. Only a few communities in this
category, such as Neapolis, Nola, Rhegium, and Heraclea, had during
all the vicissitudes of that war remained steadfastly on the Roman
side, and therefore retained their former rights as allies unaltered;
by far the greater portion were obliged in consequence of having
changed sides to acquiesce in a revision of the existing treaties to
their disadvantage. The reduced position of the non-Latin allies is
attested by the emigration from their communities into the Latin:
when in 577 the Samnites and Paelignians applied to the senate for a
reduction of their contingents, their request was based on the ground
that during late years 4000 Samnite and Paelignian families had
migrated to the Latin colony of Fregellae.


That the Latins--which term now denoted the few towns in old Latium
that were not included in the Roman burgess-union, such as Tibur and
Praeneste, the allied cities placed in law on the same footing with
them, such as several of the Hernican towns, and the Latin colonies
dispersed throughout Italy--were still at this time in a better
position, is implied in their very name; but they too had, in
proportion, hardly less deteriorated. The burdens imposed on them
were unjustly increased, and the pressure of military service was more
and more devolved from the burgesses upon them and the other Italian
allies. For instance, in 536, nearly twice as many of the allies were
called out as of the burgesses: after the end of the Hannibalic war
all the burgesses received their discharge, but not all the allies;
the latter were chiefly employed for garrison duty and for the odious
service in Spain; in the triumphal largess of 577 the allies received
not as formerly an equal share with the burgesses, but only the half,
so that amidst the unrestrained rejoicing of that soldiers' carnival
the divisions thus treated as inferior followed the chariot of victory
in sullen silence: in the assignations of land in northern Italy the
burgesses received ten jugera of arable land each, the non-burgesses
three -jugera- each. The unlimited liberty of migration had already
at an earlier period been taken from the Latin communities, and
migration to Rome was only allowed to them in the event of their
leaving behind children of their own and a portion of their estate in
the community which had been their home.(28) But these burdensome
requirements were in various ways evaded or transgressed; and the
crowding of the burgesses of Latin townships to Rome, and the
complaints of their magistrates as to the increasing depopulation
of the cities and the impossibility under such circumstances of
furnishing the fixed contingent, led the Roman government to institute
police-ejections from the capital on a large scale (567, 577). The
measure might be unavoidable, but it was none the less severely felt.
Moreover, the towns laid out by Rome in the interior of Italy began
towards the close of this period to receive instead of Latin rights
the full franchise, which previously had only been given to the
maritime colonies; and the enlargement of the Latin body by the
accession of new communities, which hitherto had gone on so regularly,
thus came to an end. Aquileia, the establishment of which began in
571, was the latest of the Italian colonies of Rome that received
Latin rights; the full franchise was given to the colonies, sent forth
nearly at the same time, of Potentia, Pisaurum, Mutina, Parma, and
Luna (570-577). The reason for this evidently lay in the decline of
the Latin as compared with the Roman franchise. The colonists
conducted to the new settlements were always, and now more than ever,
chosen in preponderating number from the Roman burgesses; and even
among the poorer portion of these there was a lack of people willing,
for the sake even of acquiring considerable material advantages, to
exchange their rights as burgesses for those of the Latin franchise.

Roman Franchise More Difficult Of Acquisition

Lastly, in the case of non-burgesses--communities as well as
individuals--admission to the Roman franchise was almost completely
foreclosed. The earlier course incorporating the subject communities
in that of Rome had been dropped about 400, that the Roman burgess
body might not be too much decentralized by its undue extension; and
therefore communities of half-burgesses were instituted.(29) Now
the centralization of the community was abandoned, partly through
the admission of the half-burgess communities to the full franchise,
partly through the accession of numerous more remote burgess-colonies
to its ranks; but the older system of incorporation was not resumed
with reference to the allied communities. It cannot be shown that
after the complete subjugation of Italy even a single Italian
community exchanged its position as an ally for the Roman franchise;
probably none after that date in reality acquired it Even the
transition of individual Italians to the Roman franchise was confined
almost solely to the case of magistrates of the Latin communities(30)
and, by special favour, of individual non-burgesses admitted to share
it at the founding of burgess-colonies.(31)

It cannot be denied that these changes -de facto- and -de jure- in
the relations of the Italian subjects exhibit at least an intimate
connection and consistency. The situation of the subject classes was
throughout deteriorated in proportion to the gradations previously
subsisting, and, while the government had formerly endeavoured to
soften the distinctions and to provide means of transition from one to
another, now the intermediate links were everywhere set aside and the
connecting bridges were broken down. As within the Roman burgess-body
the ruling class separated itself from the people, uniformly withdrew
from public burdens, and uniformly took for itself the honours and
advantages, so the burgesses in their turn asserted their distinction
from the Italian confederacy, and excluded it more and more from the
joint enjoyment of rule, while transferring to it a double or triple
share in the common burdens. As the nobility, in relation to the
plebeians, returned to the close exclusiveness of the declining
patriciate, so did the burgesses in relation to the non-burgesses;
the plebeiate, which had become great through the liberality of
its institutions, now wrapped itself up in the rigid maxims of
patricianism. The abolition of the passive burgesses cannot in itself
be censured, and, so far as concerned the motive which led to it,
belongs presumably to another connection to be discussed afterwards;
but through its abolition an intermediate link was lost. Far more
fraught with peril, however, was the disappearance of the distinction
between the Latin and the other Italian communities. The privileged
position of the Latin nation within Italy was the foundation of the
Roman power; that foundation gave way, when the Latin towns began to
feel that they were no longer privileged partakers in the dominion of
the powerful cognate community, but substantially subjects of Rome
like the rest, and when all the Italians began to find their position
equally intolerable. It is true, that there were still distinctions:
the Bruttians and their companions in misery were already treated
exactly like slaves and conducted themselves accordingly, deserting,
for instance, from the fleet in which they served as galley-slaves,
whenever they could, and gladly taking service against Rome; and the
Celtic, and above all the transmarine, subjects formed by the side of
the Italians a class still more oppressed and intentionally abandoned
by the government to contempt and maltreatment at the hands of the
Italians. But such distinctions, while implying a gradation of
classes among the subjects, could not withal afford even a remote
compensation for the earlier contrast between the cognate, and the
alien, Italian subjects. A profound dissatisfaction prevailed through
the whole Italian confederacy, and fear alone prevented it from
finding loud expression. The proposal made in the senate after the
battle at Cannae, to give the Roman franchise and a seat in the senate
to two men from each Latin community, was made at an unseasonable
time, and was rightly rejected; but it shows the apprehension with
which men in the ruling community even then viewed the relations
between Latium and Rome. Had a second Hannibal now carried the war to
Italy, it may be doubted whether he would have again been thwarted by
the steadfast resistance of the Latin name to a foreign domination.

The Provinces

But by far the most important institution which this epoch introduced
into the Roman commonwealth, and that at the same time which involved
the most decided and fatal deviation from the course hitherto pursued,
was the new provincial magistracies. The earlier state-law of Rome
knew nothing of tributary subjects: the conquered communities were
either sold into slavery, or merged in the Roman commonwealth, or
lastly, admitted to an alliance which secured to them at least
communal independence and freedom from taxation. But the Carthaginian
possessions in Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain, as well as the kingdom of
Hiero, had paid tribute and rent to their former masters: if Rome was
desirous of retaining these possessions at all, it was in the judgment
of the short-sighted the most judicious, and undoubtedly the most
convenient, course to administer the new territories entirely in
accordance with the rules heretofore observed. Accordingly the Romans
simply retained the Carthagino-Hieronic provincial constitution, and
organized in accordance with it those provinces also, such as Hither
Spain, which they wrested from the barbarians. It was the shirt of
Nessus which they inherited from the enemy. Beyond doubt at first
the Roman government intended, in imposing taxes on their subjects,
not strictly to enrich themselves, but only to cover the cost of
administration and defence; but they already deviated from this
course, when they made Macedonia and Illyria tributary without
undertaking the government or the guardianship of the frontier there.
The fact, however, that they still maintained moderation in the
imposition of burdens was of little consequence, as compared with the
conversion of their sovereignty into a right yielding profit at all;
the fall was the same, whether a single apple was taken or the tree
was plundered.

Position Of The Governors

Punishment followed in the steps of wrong. The new provincial
system necessitated the appointment of governors, whose position was
absolutely incompatible not only with the welfare of the provinces,
but with the Roman constitution. As the Roman community in the
provinces took the place of the former ruler of the land, so their
governor appeared there in the king's stead; the Sicilian praetor, for
example, resided in the palace of Hiero at Syracuse. It is true, that
by right the governor nevertheless ought to administer his office with
republican honesty and frugality. Cato, when governor of Sardinia,
appeared in the towns subject to him on foot and attended by a single
servant, who carried his coat and sacrificial ladle; and, when he
returned home from his Spanish governorship, he sold his war-horse
beforehand, because he did not hold himself entitled to charge the
state with the expenses of its transport. There is no question that
the Roman governors--although certainly but few of them pushed their
conscientiousness, like Cato, to the verge of being niggardly and
ridiculous--made in many cases a powerful impression on the subjects,
more especially on the frivolous and unstable Greeks, by their old-
fashioned piety, by the reverential stillness prevailing at their
repasts, by their comparatively upright administration of office and
of justice, especially by their proper severity towards the worst
bloodsuckers of the provincials--the Roman revenue-farmers and
bankers--and in general by the gravity and dignity of their
deportment. The provincials found their government comparatively
tolerable. They had not been pampered by their Carthaginian stewards
and Syracusan masters, and they were soon to find occasion for
recalling with gratitude the present rods as compared with the coming
scorpions: it is easy to understand how, in later times, the sixth
century of the city appeared as the golden era of provincial rule.
But it was not practicable for any length of time to be at once
republican and king. Playing the part of governors demoralized the
Roman ruling class \vith fearful rapidity. Haughtiness and arrogance
towards the provincials were so natural in the circumstances, as
scarcely to form matter of reproach against the individual magistrate.
But already it was a rare thing--and the rarer, because the government
adhered rigidly to the old principle of not paying public officials
--that a governor returned with quite clean hands from his province;
it was already remarked upon as something singular that Paullus, the
conqueror of Pydna, did not take money. The bad custom of delivering
to the governor "honorary wine" and other "voluntary" gifts seems as
old as the provincial constitution itself, and may perhaps have been
a legacy from the Carthaginians; even Cato in his administration of
Sardinia in 556 had to content himself with regulating and moderating
such contributions. The right of the magistrates, and of those
travelling on the business of the state generally, to free quarters
and free conveyance was already employed as a pretext for exactions.
The more important right of the magistrate to make requisitions of
grain in his province--partly for the maintenance of himself and his
retinue (-in cellam-) partly for the provisioning of the army in case
of war, or on other special occasions at a fair valuation--was already
so scandalously abused, that on the complaint of the Spaniards the
senate in 583 found it necessary to withdraw from the governors the
right of fixing the price of the supplies for either purpose.(32)
Requisitions had begun to be made on the subjects even for the popular
festivals in Rome; the unmeasured vexatious demands made on the
Italian as well as extra-Italian communities by the aedile Tiberius
Sempronius Gracchus, for the festival which he had to provide, induced
the senate officially to interfere against them (572). The liberties
which Roman magistrates at the close of this period allowed themselves
to take not only with the unhappy subjects, but even with the
dependent free-states and kingdoms, are illustrated by the raids of
Gaius Volso in Asia Minor,(33) and above all by the scandalous
proceedings in Greece during the war with Perseus.(34)

Control Over The Governors
Supervision Of The Senate Over The Provinces And Their Governors

The government had no right to be surprised at such things, for it
provided no serious check on the excesses of this capricious military
administration. Judicial control, it is true, was not entirely
wanting. Although, according to the universal but more than
questionable rule of allowing no complaint to be brought against a
commander-in-chief during his term of office,(35) the Roman governor
could ordinarily be called to account only after the mischief had
been done, yet he was amenable both to a criminal and to a civil
prosecution. In order to the institution of the former, a tribune of
the people by virtue of the judicial power pertaining to him had to
take the case in hand and bring it to the bar of the people; the civil
action was remitted by the senator who administered the corresponding
praetorship to a jury appointed, according to the constitution of the
tribunal in those times, from the ranks of the senate. In both cases,
therefore, the control lay in the hands of the ruling class, and,
although the latter was still sufficiently upright and honourable not
absolutely to set aside well-founded complaints, and the senate even
in various instances, at the call of those aggrieved, condescended
itself to order the institution of a civil process, yet the complaints
of poor men and foreigners against powerful members of the ruling
aristocracy--submitted to judges and jurymen far remote from the scene
and, if not involved in the like guilt, at least belonging to the same
order as the accused--could from the first only reckon on success in
the event of the wrong being clear and crying; and to complain in vain
was almost certain destruction. The aggrieved no doubt found a sort
of support in the hereditary relations of clientship, which the
subject cities and provinces entered into with their conquerors and
other Romans brought into close contact with them. The Spanish
governors felt that no one could with impunity maltreat clients of
Cato; and the circumstance that the representatives of the three
nations conquered by Paullus--the Spaniards, Ligurians, and
Macedonians--would not forgo the privilege of carrying his bier to the
funeral pile, was the noblest dirge in honour of that noble man. But
not only did this special protection give the Greeks opportunity to
display in Rome all their talent for abasing themselves in presence of
their masters, and to demoralize even those masters by their ready
servility--the decrees of the Syracusans in honour of Marcellus, after
he had destroyed and plundered their city and they had complained of
his conduct in these respects to the senate in vain, form one of the
most scandalous pages in the far from honourable annals of Syracuse
--but, in connection with the already dangerous family-politics, this
patronage on the part of great houses had also its politically
perilous side. In this way the result perhaps was that the Roman
magistrates in some degree feared the gods and the senate, and for
the most part were moderate in their plundering; but they plundered
withal, and did so with impunity, if they but observed such
moderation. The mischievous rule became established, that in the case
of minor exactions and moderate violence the Roman magistrate acted in
some measure within his sphere and was in law exempt from punishment,
so that those who were aggrieved had to keep silence; and from this
rule succeeding ages did not fail to draw the fatal consequences.
Nevertheless, even though the tribunals had been as strict as they
were lax, the liability to a judicial reckoning could only check
the worst evils. The true security for a good administration lay
in a strict and uniform supervision by the supreme administrative
authority: and this the senate utterly failed to provide. It was
in this respect that the laxity and helplessness of the collegiate
government became earliest apparent. By right the governors ought to
have been subjected to an oversight far more strict and more special
than had sufficed for the administration of Italian municipal affairs;
and now, when the empire embraced great transmarine territories, the
arrangements, through which the government preserved to itself the
supervision of the whole, ought to have undergone a corresponding
expansion. In both respects the reverse was the case. The governors
ruled virtually as sovereign; and the most important of the
institutions serving for the latter purpose, the census of the empire,
was extended to Sicily alone, not to any of the provinces subsequently
acquired. This emancipation of the supreme administrative officials
from the central authority was more than hazardous. The Roman
governor, placed at the head of the armies of the state, and in
possession of considerable financial resources: subject to but a
lax judicial control, and practically independent of the supreme
administration; and impelled by a sort of necessity to separate the
interest of himself and of the people whom he governed from that of
the Roman community and to treat them as conflicting, far more
resembled a Persian satrap than one of the commissioners of the Roman
senate at the time of the Samnite wars. The man, moreover, who had
just conducted a legalized military tyranny abroad, could with
difficulty find his way back to the common civic level, which
distinguished between those who commanded and those who obeyed, but
not between masters and slaves. Even the government felt that their
two fundamental principles--equality within the aristocracy, and the
subordination of the power of the magistrates to the senatorial
college--began in this instance to give way in their hands. The
aversion of the government to the acquisition of new provinces and to
the whole provincial system; the institution of the provincial
quaestorships, which were intended to take at least the financial
power out of the hands of the governors; and the abolition of the
arrangement--in itself so judicious--for a longer tenure of such
offices,(36) very clearly evince the anxiety felt by the more far-
seeing of the Roman statesmen as to the fruits of the seed thus sown.
But diagnosis is not cure. The internal government of the nobility
continued to follow the direction once given to it; and the decay of
the administration and of the financial system--paving the way for
future revolutions and usurpations--steadily pursued its course,
if not unnoticed, yet unchecked.

The Opposition

If the new nobility was less sharply defined than the old aristocracy
of the clans, and if the encroachment on the other burgesses as
respected the joint enjoyment of political rights was in the one
case -de jure-, in the other only -de facto-, the second form of
inferiority was for that very reason worse to bear and worse to throw
off than the first. Attempts to throw it off were, as a matter of
course, not wanting. The opposition rested on the support of the
public assembly, as the nobility did on the senate: in order to
understand the opposition, we must first describe the Roman burgess-
body during this period as regards its spirit and its position in the

Character Of The Roman Burgess-Body

Whatever could be demanded of an assembly of burgesses like the Roman,
which was not the moving spring, but the firm foundation, of the whole
machinery--a sure perception of the common good, a sagacious deference
towards the right leader, a steadfast spirit in prosperous and evil
days, and, above all, the capacity of sacrificing the individual for
the general welfare and the comfort of the present for the advantage
of the future--all these qualities the Roman community exhibited in so
high a degree that, when we look to its conduct as a whole, all
censure is lost in reverent admiration. Even now good sense and
discretion still thoroughly predominated. The whole conduct of
the burgesses with reference to the government as well as to the
opposition shows quite clearly that the same mighty patriotism before
which even the genius of Hannibal had to quit the field prevailed also
in the Roman comitia. No doubt they often erred; but their errors
originated not in the mischievous impulses of a rabble, but in the
narrow views of burgesses and farmers. The machinery, however, by
means of which the burgesses intervened in the course of public
affairs became certainly more and more unwieldy, and the circumstances
in which they were placed through their own great deeds far outgrew
their power to deal with them. We have already stated, that in the
course of this epoch most of the former communities of passive
burgesses, as well as a considerable number of newly established
colonies, received the full Roman franchise.(37) At the close of this
period the Roman burgess-body, in a tolerably compact mass, filled
Latium in its widest sense, Sabina, and a part of Campania, so that it
reached on the west coast northward to Caere and southward to Cumae;
within this district there were only a few cities not included in it,
such as Tibur, Praeneste, Signia, Norba, and Ferentinum. To this
fell to be added the maritime colonies on the coasts of Italy which
uniformly possessed the full Roman franchise, the Picenian and Trans-
Apennine colonies of the most recent times, to which the franchise
must have been conceded,(38) and a very considerable number of Roman
burgesses, who, without forming separate communities in a strict
sense, were scattered throughout Italy in market-villages and hamlets
(-fora et conciliabula-). To some extent the unwieldiness of a civic
community so constituted was remedied, for the purposes of justice(39)
and of administration, by the deputy judges previously mentioned;(40)
and already perhaps the maritime(41) and the new Picenian and Trans-
Apennine colonies exhibited at least the first lineaments of the
system under which afterwards smaller urban communities were organized
within the great city-commonwealth of Rome. But in all political
questions the primary assembly in the Roman Forum remained alone
entitled to act; and it is obvious at a glance, that this assembly
was no longer, in its composition or in its collective action, what
it had been when all the persons entitled to vote could exercise their
privilege as citizens by leaving their farms in the morning and
returning home the same evening. Moreover the government--whether
from want of judgment, from negligence, or from any evil design, we
cannot tell--no longer as formerly enrolled the communities admitted
to the franchise after 513 in newly instituted election-districts, but
included them along with others in the old; so that gradually each
tribe came to be composed of different townships scattered over the
whole Roman territory. Election-districts such as these, containing
on an average 8000--the urban naturally having more, the rural fewer
--persons entitled to vote, without local connection or inward unity,
no longer admitted of any definite leading or of any satisfactory
previous deliberation; disadvantages which must have been the more
felt, since the voting itself was not preceded by any free debate.
Moreover, while the burgesses had quite sufficient capacity to discern
their communal interests, it was foolish and utterly ridiculous to
leave the decision of the highest and most difficult questions which
the power that ruled the world had to solve to a well-disposed but
fortuitous concourse of Italian farmers, and to allow the nomination
of generals and the conclusion of treaties of state to be finally
judged of by people who understood neither the grounds nor the
consequences of their decrees. In all matters transcending mere
communal affairs the Roman primary assemblies accordingly played a
childish and even silly part. As a rule, the people stood and gave
assent to all proposals; and, when in exceptional instances they of
their own impulse refused assent, as on occasion of the declaration
of war against Macedonia in 554,(42) the policy of the market-place
certainly made a pitiful opposition--and with a pitiful issue--to the
policy of the state.

Rise Of A City Rabble

At length the rabble of clients assumed a position, formally of
equality and often even, practically, of superiority, alongside of
the class of independent burgesses. The institutions out of which it
sprang were of great antiquity. From time immemorial the Roman of
quality exercised a sort of government over his freedmen and
dependents, and was consulted by them in all their more important
affairs; a client, for instance, was careful not to give his children
in marriage without having obtained the consent of his patron, and
very often the latter directly arranged the match. But as the
aristocracy became converted into a special ruling class concentrating
in its hands not only power but also wealth, the clients became
parasites and beggars; and the new adherents of the rich undermined
outwardly and inwardly the burgess class. The aristocracy not only
tolerated this sort of clientship, but worked it financially and
politically for their own advantage. Thus, for instance, the old
penny collections, which hitherto had taken place chiefly for
religious purposes and at the burial of men of merit, were now
employed by lords of high standing--for the first time by Lucius
Scipio, in 568, on occasion of a popular festival which he had in
contemplation--for the purpose of levying on extraordinary occasions a
contribution from the public. Presents were specially placed under
legal restriction (in 550), because the senators began under that name
to take regular tribute from their clients. But the retinue of
clients was above all serviceable to the ruling class as a means of
commanding the comitia; and the issue of the elections shows clearly
how powerfully the dependent rabble already at this epoch competed
with the independent middle class.

The very rapid increase of the rabble in the capital particularly,
which is thus presupposed, is also demonstrable otherwise. The
increasing number and importance of the freedmen are shown by the very
serious discussions that arose in the previous century,(43) and were
continued during the present, as to their right to vote in the public
assemblies, and by the remarkable resolution, adopted by the senate
during the Hannibalic war, to admit honourable freedwomen to a
participation in the public collections, and to grant to the
legitimate children of manumitted fathers the insignia hitherto
belonging only to the children of the free-born.(44) The majority of
the Hellenes and Orientals who settled in Rome were probably little
better than the freedmen, for national servility clung as indelibly
to the former as legal servility to the latter.

Systematic Corruption Of The Multitude
Distributions Of Grain

But not only did these natural causes co-operate to produce a
metropolitan rabble: neither the nobility nor the demagogues,
moreover, can be acquitted from the reproach of having systematically
nursed its growth, and of having undermined, so far as in them lay,
the old public spirit by flattery of the people and things still
worse. The electors as a body were still too respectable to admit of
direct electoral corruption showing itself on a great scale; but the
favour of those entitled to vote was indirectly courted by methods far
from commendable. The old obligation of the magistrates, particularly
of the aediles, to see that corn could be procured at a moderate price
and to superintend the games, began to degenerate into the state of
things which at length gave rise to the horrible cry of the city
populace under the Empire, "Bread for nothing and games for ever!"
Large supplies of grain, cither placed by the provincial governors at
the disposal of the Roman market officials, or delivered at Rome free
of cost by the provinces themselves for the purpose of procuring
favour with particular Roman magistrates, enabled the aediles, from
the middle of the sixth century, to furnish grain to the population of
the capital at very low prices. "It was no wonder," Cato considered,
"that the burgesses no longer listened to good advice--the belly
forsooth had no ears."


Popular amusements increased to an alarming extent. For five hundred
years the community had been content with one festival in the year,
and with one circus. The first Roman demagogue by profession, Gaius
Flaminius, added a second festival and a second circus (534);(45) and
by these institutions--the tendency of which is sufficiently indicated
by the very name of the new festival, "the plebeian games"--he
probably purchased the permission to give battle at the Trasimene
lake. When the path was once opened, the evil made rapid progress.
The festival in honour of Ceres, the goddess who protected the
plebeian order,(46) must have been but little, if at all, later than
the plebeian games. On the suggestion of the Sibylline and Marcian
prophecies, moreover, a fourth festival was added in 542 in honour of
Apollo, and a fifth in 550 in honour of the "Great Mother" recently
transplanted from Phrygia to Rome. These were the severe years of
the Hannibalic war--on the first celebration of the games of Apollo
the burgesses were summoned from the circus itself to arms; the
superstitious fear peculiar to Italy was feverishly excited, and
persons were not wanting who took advantage of the opportunity to
circulate Sibylline and prophetic oracles and to recommend themselves
to the multitude through their contents and advocacy: we can scarcely
blame the government, which was obliged to call for so enormous
sacrifices from the burgesses, for yielding in such matters. But what
was once conceded had to be continued; indeed, even in more peaceful
times (581) there was added another festival, although of minor
importance--the games in honour of Flora. The cost of these new
festal amusements was defrayed by the magistrates entrusted with the
providing of the respective festivals from their own means: thus the
curule aediles had, over and above the old national festival, those
of the Mother of the Gods and of Flora; the plebeian aediles had the
plebeian festival and that of Ceres, and the urban praetor the
Apollinarian games. Those who sanctioned the new festivals perhaps
excused themselves in their own eyes by the reflection that they were
not at any rate a burden on the public purse; but it would have been
in reality far less injurious to burden the public budget with a
number of useless expenses, than to allow the providing of an
amusement for the people to become practically a qualification for
holding the highest office in the state. The future candidates for
the consulship soon entered into a mutual rivalry in their expenditure
on these games, which incredibly increased their cost; and, as may
well be conceived, it did no harm if the consul expectant gave,
over and above this as it were legal contribution, a voluntary
"performance" (-munus-), a gladiatorial show at his own expense for
the public benefit. The splendour of the games became gradually the
standard by which the electors measured the fitness of the candidates
for the consulship. The nobility had, in truth, to pay dear for their
honours--a gladiatorial show on a respectable scale cost 720,000
sesterces (7200 pounds)--but they paid willingly, since by this
means they absolutely precluded men who were not wealthy from a
political career.

Squandering Of The Spoil

Corruption, however, was not restricted to the Forum; it was
transferred even to the camp. The old burgess militia had reckoned
themselves fortunate when they brought home a compensation for the
toil of war, and, in the event of success, a trifling gift as a
memorial of victory. The new generals, with Scipio Africanus at their
head, lavishly scattered amongst their troops the money of Rome as
well as the proceeds of the spoil: it was on this point, that Cato
quarrelled with Scipio during the last campaigns against Hannibal in
Africa. The veterans from the second Macedonian war and that waged in
Asia Minor already returned home throughout as wealthy men: even the
better class began to commend a general, who did not appropriate the
gifts of the provincials and the gains of war entirely to himself and
his immediate followers, and from whose camp not a few men returned
with gold, and many with silver, in their pockets: men began to forget
that the moveable spoil was the property of the state. When Lucius
Paullus again dealt with it in the old mode, his own soldiers,
especially the volunteers who had been allured in numbers by the
prospect of rich plunder, fell little short of refusing to the
victor of Pydna by popular decree the honour of a triumph--an honour
which they already threw away on every one who had subjugated three
Ligurian villages.

Decline Of Warlike Spirit

How much the military discipline and the martial spirit of the
burgesses suffered from this conversion of war into a traffic in
plunder, may be traced in the campaigns against Perseus; and the
spread of cowardice was manifested in a way almost scandalous during
the insignificant Istrian war (in 576). On occasion of a trifling
skirmish magnified by rumour to gigantic dimensions, the land army
and the naval force of the Romans, and even the Italians, ran off
homeward, and Cato found it necessary to address a special reproof to
his countrymen for their cowardice. In this too the youth of quality
took precedence. Already during the Hannibalic war (545) the censors
found occasion to visit with severe penalties the remissness of those
who were liable to military service under the equestrian census.
Towards the close of this period (574?) a decree of the people
prescribed evidence of ten years' service as a qualification for
holding any public magistracy, with a view to compel the sons of
the nobility to enter the army.


But perhaps nothing so clearly evinces the decay of genuine pride and
genuine honour in high and low alike as the hunting after insignia and
titles, which appeared under different forms of expression, but with
substantial identity of character, among all ranks and classes. So
urgent was the demand for the honour of a triumph that there was
difficulty in upholding the old rule, which accorded a triumph only
to the ordinary supreme magistrate who augmented the power of the
commonwealth in open battle, and thereby, it is true, not unfrequently
excluded from that honour the very authors of the most important
successes. There was a necessity for acquiescence, while those
generals, who had in vain solicited, or had no prospect of attaining,
a triumph from the senate or the burgesses, marched in triumph on
their own account at least to the Alban Mount (first in 523). No
combat with a Ligurian or Corsican horde was too insignificant to be
made a pretext for demanding a triumph. In order to put an end to the
trade of peaceful triumphators, such as were the consuls of 574, the
granting of a triumph was made to depend on the producing proof of a
pitched battle which had cost the lives of at least 5000 of the enemy;
but this proof was frequently evaded by false bulletins--already in
houses of quality many an enemy's armour might be seen to glitter,
which had by no means come thither from the field of battle. While
formerly the commander-in-chief of the one year had reckoned it an
honour to serve next year on the staff of his successor, the fact that
the consular Cato took service as a military tribune under Tiberius
Sempronius Longus (560) and Manius Glabrio (563;(47)), was now
regarded as a demonstration against the new-fashioned arrogance.
Formerly the thanks of the community once for all had sufficed for
service rendered to the state: now every meritorious act seemed to
demand a permanent distinction. Already Gaius Duilius, the victor of
Mylae (494), had gained an exceptional permission that, when he walked
in the evening through the streets of the capital, he should be
preceded by a torch-bearer and a piper. Statues and monuments, very
often erected at the expense of the person whom they purported to
honour, became so common, that it was ironically pronounced a
distinction to have none. But such merely personal honours did not
long suffice. A custom came into vogue, by which the victor and his
descendants derived a permanent surname from the victories they had
won--a custom mainly established by the victor of Zama who got himself
designated as the hero of Africa, his brother as the hero of Asia, and
his cousin as the hero of Spain.(48) The example set by the higher
was followed by the humbler classes. When the ruling order did not
disdain to settle the funeral arrangements for different ranks and to
decree to the man who had been censor a purple winding-sheet, it could
not complain of the freedmen for desiring that their sons at any rate
might be decorated with the much-envied purple border. The robe, the
ring, and the amulet-case distinguished not only the burgess and the
burgess's wife from the foreigner and the slave, but also the person
who was free-born from one who had been a slave, the son of free-born,
from the son of manumitted, parents, the son of the knight and the
senator from the common burgess, the descendant of a curule house from
the common senator(49)--and this in a community where all that was
good and great was the work of civil equality!

The dissension in the community was reflected in the ranks of the
opposition. Resting on the support of the farmers, the patriots
raised a loud cry for reform; resting on the support of the mob in
the capital, demagogism began its work. Although the two tendencies
do not admit of being wholly separated but in various respects go hand
in hand, it will be necessary to consider them apart.

The Party Of Reform

The party of reform emerges, as it were, personified in Marcus Porcius
Cato (520-605). Cato, the last statesman of note belonging to that
earlier system which restricted its ideas to Italy and was averse to
universal empire, was for that reason accounted in after times the
model of a genuine Roman of the antique stamp; he may with greater
justice be regarded as the representative of the opposition of the
Roman middle class to the new Hellenico-cosmopolite nobility. Brought
up at the plough, he was induced to enter on a political career by the
owner of a neighbouring estate, one of the few nobles who kept aloof
from the tendencies of the age, Lucius Valerius Flaccus. That upright
patrician deemed the rough Sabine farmer the proper man to stem the
current of the times; and he was not deceived in his estimate.
Beneath the aegis of Flaccus, and after the good old fashion serving
his fellow-citizens and the commonwealth in counsel and action, Cato
fought his way up to the consulate and a triumph, and even to the
censorship. Having in his seventeenth year entered the burgess-army,
he had passed through the whole Hannibalic war from the battle on the
Trasimene lake to that of Zama; had served under Marcellus and Fabius,
under Nero and Scipio; and at Tarentum and Sena, in Africa, Sardinia,
Spain, and Macedonia, had shown himself capable as a soldier, a staff-
officer, and a general. He was the same in the Forum, as in the
battle-field. His prompt and fearless utterance, his rough but
pungent rustic wit, his knowledge of Roman law and Roman affairs, his
incredible activity and his iron frame, first brought him into notice
in the neighbouring towns; and, when at length he made his appearance
on the greater arena of the Forum and the senate-house in the capital,
constituted him the most influential advocate and political orator of
his time. He took up the key-note first struck by Manius Curius, his
ideal among Roman statesmen;(50) throughout his long life he made it
his task honestly, to the best of his judgment, to assail on all hands
the prevailing declension; and even in his eighty-fifth year he
battled in the Forum with the new spirit of the times. He was
anything but comely--he had green eyes, his enemies alleged, and red

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