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which they retained for centuries after the assembly which passed them had ceased to be a gathering in which the older populus took no part or interest.
Yet to have given Rome one new comitia was not sufficient for Servius Tullius. It has been observed above, that the political changes which resulted from the new position of the plebs were produced in and through changes of military organization. By the new tribal constitution, the old relation between infantry and cavalry, according to which the former had been but a subordinate appendage of the latter, had been superseded. Nevertheless, the distinction of cavalry and infantry still remained a distinction of caste; the patrician alone could be an eques; the plebeian, however rich he might be, was condemned to serve on foot. To reduce the prominence of the distinction between plebs and populus, if not to sweep it away altogether, it was necessary to disconnect the military organization from the old constitution of curiae and gentes; to substitute for this principle a new one; to base the military system on a new idea. This new principle, this new idea, were those of timocracy. The leading feature in Servius' second reform was his division of the whole people, which could be called on for infantry service, into five classes, in which each man's position was determined by the amount of his property. The first comprised all those whose property was valued at 100,000 asses and upwards; of the second, the qualification was 75,000 asses; of the third, 50,000; of the fourth, 25,000; of the fifth, 10,000. Those citizens whose means did not qualify them even for this fifth grade, belonged to subsidiary, but of course unimportant classes, known as accensi velati and proletarii. To this proprietary classification corresponded an arrangement of the fighting men in centuries or companies of a hundred. Of cavalry there were eighteen centuries, six of which were drawn from the old populus, in accordance with the plan of Tarquinius Priscus, and twelve from the plebs. The first of Servius' new classes furnished eighty-two centuries of heavily-armed infantry; the second, third, and fourth, twenty fighting centuries each, and also a couple of additional companies, consisting of buglers and musicians; thirty centuries were contributed by the fifth class; at each step downwards in the scale the armour became lighter, the equipment less complete. The full number of centuries seems to have been one hundred and ninety-two.
It is, however, the political side of the centurial organization which is of most interest in the history of Roman law, though this was not a working reality until after the expulsion of the kings. The principle which underlay its application to this branch of the national life was this—that a man ought to have an influence in public affairs proportioned to the burdens which he bore in defending the state against its external foes. This idea could not be realised in either of the two assemblies already existing; for in the one no plebeian, in the other no patrician, ever so much as appeared. The result was the establishment of a third comitia, the comitia centuriata, which was destined, for most purposes, to eventually throw the other two into the shade, and to engross the discussion of public questions, such as war and peace, legislation on matters affecting the constitution, the choice of magistrates, and the decision of all judicial proceedings which involved the 1 caput' of a Roman citizen. In the comitia centuriata, where each century had a single vote, the influence of the richer middle class had an irresistible preponderance. In the order which furnished cavalry, the patrician votes were outnumbered in the proportion of two to one by those of the plebeians; while the eighty votes of the first of Servius' infantry classes formed a compact political force which could lose or win the day in a contested election, or on a public question upon which opinions differed. The political, however, were not precisely identical with the military centuries; the proportion between the classes was the same, but by the addition of a proletariate suffrage the number of military companies was exceeded by the number of votes in the comitia by one.
With the expulsion of the sons of Tarquinius Superbus (circ. 509 B. c.) the kingly government of Rome came to an end. The act had been that of the patricians; but the plebeians were in full accord with them, and to the harmony between the leaders of the two parties was due the introduction of the Servian constitution by the leges Valeriae, and in particular of the comitia centuriata, with all the powers and privileges lately enumerated. The constitutional functions of the king were vested in two supreme magistrates of co-ordinate authority, who were chosen from year to year, and called at first praetors, and later consuls; of the first two who were elected one was the plebeian L. Junius Brutus. It would seem too that the plebeians now gained the entrfo to the senate—at least, henceforward two classes of senators are distinguished—patres and conscripti. But no provision apparently was made to secure an adequate senatorial representation of the plebs, and after Brutus there is no plebeian consul for very many years. This will make it clear at once that, though the plebs commanded an overwhelming majority in the comitia, its political influence in general was far less real than might be supposed. A mine of gunpowder is harmless unless there be some one to apply the match; and the practical helplessness of the plebeians will be comprehended if we remember three facts. In the first place, no citizen could constitutionally bring any matter before the centuries except one or other of the consuls. In the second place, the senate still preserved its probouleutic function already described; that is to say, even a consul could not submit a single question to the comitia until it had previously been discussed by the senate, and its reference to the larger assembly had been approved by that body. Thirdly, it was required that all elective or legislative acts which needed a religious sanction should be confirmed by a lex curiata in the comitia of that name, in which it will be remembered that patricians alone were entitled to take part; such confirmation was essential, for instance, to the validity of consular elections, for on consuls a lex curiata alone could confer the imperium, and of all alterations in the constitution.
The first secession of the plebs (b. c. 494) seems to have been occasioned principally by financial distress. Unsuccessful wars against the allies of the royal family of the Tarquins had largely increased taxation, and taxation fell in the main on the plebeians alone. The story of Athens in the time of Solon was once more repeated. The patricians availed themselves of their comparative freedom from financial burdens to cast the net of usury round the plebs, and the severe form of execution in vogue for debt was abused for political purposes. Returning from a campaign, the plebeian section of the host occupied a hill in the vicinity of Rome, subsequently known as the Mons Sacer, and refused to re-enter the city. There they were joined by the rest of the plebs, and threats uttered of a permanent secession, and of the establishment of an opposition state. The patricians saved themselves from a catastrophe which would have thrown the history of Rome centuries backward, and, in all probability, totally altered its character, by conceding certain reforms, by surrendering certain of their privileges. To begin with, the comitia tributa received a new substantive character. Hitherto we should suppose it to have been little more than a means of evoking an expression of plebeian opinion; its resolutions or plebiscita had had no general authority, and had perhaps only served to indicate to the patricians the temper of the political opposition and the line of policy which party exigencies rendered expedient. It would seem now that the tribus rusticae received a political influence independent of the city tribes; at least, the total number of tribes is now spoken of as twenty-one, whereas the authorities, in describing the inauguration of the Servian tribal organization, bring the four tribus urbanae alone into prominent notice; and Livy, in his account of it, does not so much as mention the tribus rusticae at all. Of far greater constitutional importance, however, was the establishment of five special elective plebeian magistrates, tribuni plebis, whose office none could hold unless he were himself plebeian; those who violated their personal liberty or security were to be outside the protection of the law. Not being magistratus populi, but merely leaders of the plebs, they could not, like the consuls, take the political initiative; their strength lay in resistance, or, more especially, in the right of veto with which they were invested, and which enabled them to stop and render ineffectual any magisterial action by which they deemed the interests of the plebs were threatened; unless they were unanimous, one tribune could veto another. This institution of the tribunate afforded a surer means whereby the resolutions of the plebs could acquire the force of law. The tribunes were not members of the senate in virtue of their office, but they were permitted to appear at the threshold of the building where that body held its deliberations, and lay before it the proposals of the order which they represented; if approved, these proposals could then be referred in the ordinary way to the comitia centuriata, and thereby become genuine enactments of the sovereign populus1. The election of the tribunes was by a lex Publilia (b.c. 471) vested in the comitia tributa, and their number was by the same statute raised from five to ten. At the same time patricians seem to have been made eligible for the office; in the year B.c. 448 only eight of the ten were plebeians. Measures were also taken to relieve insolvent debtors from their obligations, and promises were made of reforms in this branch of law.
One or two other subjects of plebeian complaint may be here mentioned, along with the half measures by which it was attempted to remedy them, in order to show that the enactment of the Twelve Tables was preceded by a period of discontent and even active agitation, and that the relations of the two parties were still in a sort of ferment, and incapable of satisfactory adjustment except by some constitutional reform of more than ordinary comprehensiveness. Numbers of the leading plebeians were injured by the exclusion of connubium between themselves and the patrician order. Though
1 Valerius Maximus ii. 2. 7.
this anomaly had originally been grounded on political considerations, it was now retained for purposes of mere annoyance only; but the deliverance of the plebeians was not yet. Even now too they were still legally incapable of possessing the ager publicus; and this appeared the more hard, because, on the one hand, their taxation was out of all proportion to that of the patricians, while the possession of the ager publicus was untaxed, and yet, on the other, it was mainly through their own valour that it had become ager publicus at all. Some slight compensation was made for this by a lex Cassia (b.c. 486) which effected a distribution of newly-conquered territory, and placed some restrictions on the patrician enjoyment of the public land. A third grievance was the unlimited power of the magistrates to inflict pecuniary fines; this was curtailed by the leges Menenia, Tarpeia, and Papiria, passed between 460 and 430 B.c. Lastly, the patricians controlled the entire administration of justice; it was the consul who presided over the preliminary stage of every action, and if he did not decide it out of hand, the judges were most usually the patrician decemviri, upon whom this function had been cast by Servius Tullius, it was the pontifices themselves, members of the patrician caste, who interpreted the law, and solved its knotty problems. Moreover, the very enforcement of the law depended on the observance of minute forms and technicalities of which, by reason of their implication with the ius sacrum, the plebeian could know little or nothing. Some slight amelioration of these hard conditions must have been afforded by the lex Pinariawhich belongs to this period, and which, in certain classes of actions (we may suppose, in particular, actions of debt), allowed the parties to choose a single judge, to the exclusion of the magistrates' own jurisdiction and of the decemviral court (Gaius iv. 15). But the class from which the judge was to be chosen seems to have been limited in some way of which we have no certain knowledge; and the chief interest of the lex Pinaria is that it served as a precedent for the principle enunciated by Cicero (pro Cluentio 43) in the words 'neminem voluerunt maiores nostri esse iudicem nisi qui inter adversarios convenisset.'
In the year B.c. 462 the tribune Terentillus had procured a resolution of the plebs, ' ut quinque viri creentur legibus de imperio consulari scribendis,' which the senate refused to send on to the comitia centuriata. Nothing daunted, he proposed, in the next year and in the same way, a codification of the whole law by decemviri. This
1 Its date was, according to Huschke, B. c. 472 (Verfassung des Servius p. 595).