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A History of Rome through the Fifth Century: Volume I: The by A. H. M., Editor Jones

By A. H. M., Editor Jones


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Cicero, de Republica, II. 39-40 HE ENROLLED eighteen centuries of cavalry of the highest property qualification. Afterwards, having separated a great number of cavalry from the common mass of the people, he divided the rest of the people into five classes, distinguishing between the seniors and the juniors. These he so constituted as to place the votes not in the hands of the multitude but in the power of the men of property. And he took care to make it a rule, as it ought to be in every government, that the greatest number should not have the greatest weight.

Only patricians were eligible. 7· Dionysius of Halicarnassus, IV. 84 WHEN Brutus had done haranguing them, they all cried out, as from a single mouth, to lead them to arms. Then Brutus, pleased at this, said, "On this conditiou, that you first hear the resolution of the senate and confirm it. For we have resolved that the Tarquinii and all their posterity shall be banished both from the city of Rome and from all the territory ruled by the Romans; that no one shall be permitted to say or do anything about their restoration; and that if anyone shall be found doing anything contrary to these decisions he shall be put to death.

And that is why they are not allowed to be away for a night; because, to prevent violence, they must be always on the spot and their constant vigilance is needed. 31 THE LAW OF DEBT 1 3. The law of debt One of the chief grievances of the plebeians was the ruthless exploitation of the severe law of debt against them by patrician lenders. The fate of insolvent debtors under the Twelve Tables is set out in this extract. 13. Aulus Gellius, XX. 41-52 Tms DEGREE of faith our ancestors sanctioned, not only in public offices, but in contracts between private men, and particularly in the borrowing and interchange of money, for they thought this temporary relief to poverty, which every situation of life sometimes demands, would be ruined if the perfidy of debtors escaped without severe punishment; when therefore a debt was confessed or judgment was given, thirty days were allowed for the purpose of collecting money to pay it, and those days the ten commissioners called justi, as if a certain cessation of the law took place, during which time no legal suit could proceed against them.

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