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Title: Roman politics
Author: Abbott, Frank Frost
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Roman politics" ***

  Our Debt to Greece and Rome


  _University of Pennsylvania_

  _The Johns Hopkins University_



Our Debt to Greece and Rome


  S. DAVIS PAGE (_memorial_)
  DR. J. WILLIAM WHITE (_memorial_)

The Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Liberal Studies.


  ORIC BATES (_memorial_)







_New York_


 And one contributor, who has asked to have his name withheld:

_Maecenas atavis edite regibus, O et praesidium et dulce decus meum._


The Greek Embassy at Washington, for the Greek Government.



  _Kennedy Professor of Latin Language and Literature_
  _Princeton University_





  _All rights reserved_

  Printed May, 1923




  CHAPTER                                                 PAGE

  CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FUND                                  ii


  1. Pre-Augustan                                            3

  2. Post-Augustan                                          31


  1. Rome and the Church of Rome                            47

  2. The Individual and the State                           51

  3. On Constitutions                                       67

  4. The Legislative and Executive Branches of Government   74

  i. Resemblances between Ancient and Modern                74

  ii. Differences between Ancient and Modern                80

  5. The Judiciary                                          95

  6. Conception of Citizenship                             103

  i. In Times of Peace                                     103

  ii. In Times of War                                      106

  7. Taxation and Finance                                  108

  8. Imperialism                                           115

  ROMANS AND TO MODERN PEOPLES                             138

  1. The Color and the Labor Questions                     139

  2. Voting and Elections                                  140

  3. The Political Boss                                    144

  4. The Recall                                            147

  5. Pensions, Bonuses, and Militarism                     149

  6. Cases of Paternalism                                  152

  7. Growth of Cities                                      160

  IV. SOME FINAL REFLECTIONS                               164

  NOTES                                                    171

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                             175




Roman political history has an unusual meaning and value for us,
because the Romans had to face so many of the problems which confront
us today, and their experience ran through such a wide range. Few
peoples can boast of an unbroken history of a thousand years, and
perhaps none has tried so many different forms of government. The
early monarchy gives way to an oligarchy, to be displaced in turn by
a democracy. The dual government of the prince and the senate which
follows develops into the empire, and the emperor in time becomes the
autocratic monarch. In this period of a thousand years from the seventh
century before our era to the fourth century after it, we may see in
the practical experiences of the Roman people the points of strength
and of weakness in an aristocracy, a plutocracy, a parliamentary
government, a democratic empire, and an autocracy. We may also trace in
the history of Rome the development of a city-state into a world-wide
empire. In its early days the territory of Rome covered scarcely a
hundred square miles. Then followed one after another the conquest of
Central Italy, of the whole peninsula, of the Western Mediterranean, of
the Greek Orient, and of Western Europe and the region of the Danube,
until Roman rule extended from the Sahara to the Rhine, from the
Tigris and the Euphrates to the Atlantic. This tremendous territorial
expansion, which brought within the limits of the State people of
diverse races, colors, and religions, called for a constant recasting
and readjustment of political forms and methods, and the solution of
countless new political problems. In almost all of our colonies or
dependencies today, in the Philippines, in Asia, and in Africa we
have to deal only with peoples less advanced in civilization than we
are, but the Romans had not only to civilize and govern the stubborn
tribes of Gaul and Spain, but also to make their authority respected
in the Greek East, among peoples who could boast of a civilization far
higher and older than their own. That a city-state with the old and
narrow local social and political traditions which Rome had could adapt
herself to the government of a world-empire composed of such diverse
elements as made up the Roman Empire is one of the marvels of history,
and a study of the methods which she followed can not fail to throw
light on political questions which we have to meet today. The range of
social and economic conditions through which Rome went is equally wide.
The Romans come on the stage of history as a primitive pastoral people
with strongholds on the hills. In course of time they build cities
all over the world whose beauty and magnificence have perhaps never
been equalled. Their government had to keep pace with these social and
economic changes, and consequently had to adapt itself to almost every
conceivable state of society.

In spite of all these facts one may be inclined to raise the question
whether our civilization can have much in common with one so far
removed from it in point of time, and whether the study of such an
ancient society will have more than an intellectual or historical
interest for us. This would be true perhaps if we were studying the
political system of almost any other people of antiquity. It is hard
for us to understand or sympathize with the social or political ideas
of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, or the Persians. Perhaps it is not
easy to find much even in the political experiences of the Greeks
which will be of practical service to us. But with the Romans it is
different. If an immigrant from ancient Rome of the first century
before our era should disembark in New York tomorrow, he would need
less training in understanding our political machinery than many of
our contemporary immigrants do, because the Anglo-Saxon and the Roman
show the same characteristics in their political life. Both peoples
are opportunists. Both peoples are inclined to meet a new situation by
making as little change as possible in the old machinery. Both have a
great deal of practical common sense, and no high regard for formal
logic or consistency. The Romans had the institution of slavery, and
we have developed a complex industrial system through the application
of steam and electricity, and steam and electricity have changed the
external aspects of our lives. But these differences have not affected
deeply the political thinking of the two peoples. We have little in
common with any other peoples of antiquity. We have still less with
those of the Middle Ages. The ideals of chivalry, of feudalism, of the
medieval church, and the submergence of the individual in society,
are altogether foreign to our way of thinking. Perhaps it is the
incomprehensible nature of these fifteen hundred years of medieval
civilization that separate our times from those of the Romans which has
prevented us from recognizing our political kinship to the Romans. From
this resemblance between Roman civilization and our own, and between
the Roman character and our own, it does not necessarily follow that
their system of government was closely akin to ours, or that we have
inherited many political institutions directly from them. It would,
however, naturally mean that many of their political problems would be
like ours, and that their method of approaching them would be similar
to ours. In some cases they solved these problems with more or less
success; in others, they failed. The legacy which they have handed down
to us, then, is the practical demonstration in their political life
of the merits of certain forms of government and of certain methods
of dealing with political and social questions, and the weakness of
others. The points of resemblance between the ancient and the modern,
and the large extent of our direct and indirect inheritance will be
defined later.

The natural political entity in antiquity was the city, with a
small outlying territory about it. This state of things the Romans
clearly recognized in fixing the status of conquered territory in
Italy and across the sea. Thus, after the conquest of Sicily, Rome
made her arrangements for ruling the island, not with a government
representing all Sicily, but with the sixty-eight individual cities
and towns of the island, and the citizens of Syracuse or of Agrigentum
derived such rights as they had, not from the fact that they were
Sicilians, but from their residence in the one or the other of these
two cities.[1] This political system, based on the independent life
of a small community, is familiar enough to us in the history of such
Italian cities as Venice, Florence, and Siena in the Middle Ages,
and preëminently in the story of Geneva under Calvin. In fact the
political institution of antiquity which has had the longest life and
which has enjoyed an unbroken history up to our own day is that of the
city-state. Hundreds of inscriptions from various parts of the world
show us the form of government which these municipalities had in Roman
times. The control of affairs rested in the hands of an executive, of
a small assembly of chosen men, and of the whole body of citizens. The
comparative strength of these three elements differed in different
cities, and varied from period to period in the history of each city.
This was the government which we find in the city of Rome in early
days. Continuity was given to it by the senate, or assembly of elders
of the resident clans, who, on the death of the king, appointed one of
their number to choose the king’s successor, whose assumption of office
was dependent on the approval of the senate and the people.

Through an aristocratic revolution the kingdom was overthrown, and
the king gave place to two annually elected magistrates, called later
consuls, who had the right of veto on each other’s actions. The consuls
were chosen from the ranks of the patricians, or ruling families, and
at the end of a year became patricians again. They must therefore have
been largely governed in their action by class prejudice. Consequently
the position of the classes which lacked political privileges
became intolerable. Another element in the situation aggravated the
difficulty. Being located in the centre of Italy and on a navigable
river, and being far enough from the mouth of the river to be safe
from pirates, Rome grew rapidly, and the coming of a large number of
immigrants to the city had a profound effect on its political history.
The newcomers did not enjoy the same civil and political rights as the
members of the original clans, and they were at an economic and social

The constitutional history of Rome for several centuries centres about
the struggle of these people and of the other members of the lower
classes to remove the limitations which were put on their rights in
these four respects. The natural method of guarding the civil rights of
the commons against the arbitrary action of the patrician consul was
to limit his powers by law. But the Romans did not adopt this method.
They chose class representatives, called tribunes, who were authorized
to intervene in person when a plebeian was being treated unjustly
and prevent the chief magistrate from carrying out his purpose. It
is characteristic of the Roman, as we shall see in other cases, to
take this concrete, personal way of bringing about a constitutional
reform. The plebeians were at a disadvantage also, because they were
kept ignorant of legal procedure and could not maintain their rights
before a magistrate. The details of the law, or the accepted custom,
were known only to the patrician priests and were handed down by word
of mouth from one generation to another. About the middle of the fifth
century, after a long struggle, this law was codified and was engraved
on twelve bronze tablets, and the tablets were hung up in the Forum
where they might be read by any one. These Twelve Tables[2] were
regarded by the Romans as the basis of their civil liberty, and may
well be placed by the side of the Mosaic Code, the laws of Hammurabi,
the Gortynian Code, and Magna Charta. As we shall see later, they
contained no formulation of general rights, but stated clearly and
minutely the procedure to be followed in civil and criminal actions.
If we may accept tradition, both these battles with the patricians were
won by the very modern method of Direct Action.

This conquest of civil rights brought the plebeians a larger measure
of political rights than they had enjoyed before. It was necessary for
them now to organize a popular assembly of their own, in order to elect
the tribunes; the tribune became their political leader, and within the
next century, under his leadership, the plebeians forced the patricians
to admit them to the consulship, and in consequence to the other
important magistracies.

In early days the patricians had formed not only a close corporation
politically, but also a social caste. Sons of patricians who married
plebeian women lost the patriciate, and all the social, political,
and religious privileges which went with it. By the Canuleian law in
the fifth century the right to intermarry without loss of privileges
was guaranteed. Henceforth the state tended to become a unit, and not
two separate communities, and in the future when the interests of the
two classes were in conflict prominent patricians were often led by
kinship to support the plebeian cause at critical moments.

The fourth point about which the struggles in the early period centred
was the land question. It was the age-old battle between the great
landowner on the one hand and the peasant proprietor, the tenant,
and the free laborer on the other. As Rome came into possession of
new territory in central Italy by conquest or otherwise, the great
landed proprietors managed to get most of it from the state at a
nominal rental. The constant wars in which Rome was engaged during her
early history called both rich and poor to the front, but the rich
man’s slaves and dependents kept his land under cultivation, while
the peasant’s holdings, left without anyone to till them, steadily
deteriorated. The peasant found it hard, too, to compete with the great
landowner who farmed on a large scale and used slave labor, while the
free laborer was crushed in competition with the slave. A solution
of these difficulties was sought in the Licinian laws of the fourth
century and in later legislation. But this legislation did not reach
the root of the trouble, and the land question came up in one form or
the other for many generations to plague the Romans. The Licinian
laws, perhaps supplemented by later legislation, limited the number of
acres of state land to be occupied by an individual, stipulated that
interest already paid on debts should be deducted from the principal,
and fixed the proportional number of free laborers and slaves to be
employed on an estate. The first and second provisions were intended
to protect the peasant proprietor and to prevent the growth of large
estates at his expense. If these three measures could have accomplished
their purpose, that drift from the country to the city which ultimately
wrecked the Roman Empire, and which is one of the dangerous tendencies
today, might never have taken place.

The rapid growth of Rome and her conquest of adjacent territory not
only brought to the surface the economic questions which we have just
been discussing, but also necessitated an increase in the number of
magistrates to manage the larger population and to meet the more
complex conditions which had arisen. In the early Republican period the
only important officials with positive powers were the two consuls.
They presided over the meetings of the senate and of the assemblies
which were made up of the whole people, and they were the chief
executives and the judicial and financial officials of the community.
They supervised the conquered districts of Italy, represented the
city in its dealings with foreign states, and commanded the army.
These manifold duties, and in particular the absence of the consuls
from the city in carrying on war, made it necessary to relieve them
of some of their civil functions. The first step taken in this
direction was to increase the importance of a minor police official,
the aedile. To this official was assigned the duty of keeping order
in public places, of supervising commercial transactions, and later,
as a natural development of these two functions, of taking charge of
the public games and of providing a supply of grain for the city.
The financial duties of the consul were turned over to the censor.
First and foremost, of course, among these, were the collection of
taxes and the expenditure of public moneys. In order that he might
draw up a correct list of taxable property, the censor required every
citizen to appear before him every five years and make a statement
concerning his property, his business, and the main facts of his
life. Consequently the censors not only knew the financial status of
every Roman, but were also familiar with his occupation and his moral
standing in the community. Now the value of a citizen’s vote in the
principal popular assembly depended on the amount of property which he
held, and certain occupations were regarded as beneath the dignity of
a senator or likely to interfere with the disinterested performance
of his duty. In later times, too, inclusion in the new social order
of the knighthood depended on the possession of a certain amount of
property. It was natural therefore that the censors, having all the
necessary information before them, should assume responsibility for
assigning citizens to their proper places in the centuriate assembly,
and for revising every five years the lists of senators and knights.
This attempt to supervise the morals of the community is one of the
most interesting experiments in government which the Romans ever made.
It reached certain social evils, like extravagance and cowardice, of
which the courts could not readily take cognizance, and the penalties
imposed, of loss of voting importance in the assembly or of exclusion
from the list of senators or knights, were severe. It may well
indicate a gradual growth of wealth in the community and a threatened
disappearance of the simple life and the simple virtues of the olden
time. What the censors tried to do was to maintain the moral and social
standards of earlier days. While the censor’s office flourished,
deviations from those standards were not defined by law, but were
determined by officials, from whose decisions there was no appeal.
Perhaps no official in Roman history enjoyed such absolute power
within the limits fixed by the penalties which could be imposed.[3]
The institution played an important rôle for many decades, but towards
the close of the second century before our era, the population had
become so large that an examination of the business and the life of
every citizen became impossible. One of the objects which the Romans
had tried to accomplish by the establishment of the censorship, they
attempted later to attain by the passage of sumptuary laws.

The growth of Rome and the consequent increase of public business led
the Romans to take his judicial functions from the consul in 367,
just as they had previously relieved him of police duties and of
financial business. Henceforth a new magistrate, the praetor, took his
place in the courts. To no other institution in the Roman political
system does the modern world owe so much as it owes to the praetor’s
office. At first there was only one incumbent of the office, and since
his duties confined him to the city he was called the urban praetor.
A hundred years later when a second praetor was added, to deal with
cases in which one party or both parties to the case were foreigners,
the new official was styled the peregrine praetor and in his courts
the principles of the law of nations were developed. Sulla ultimately
raised the number of praetors to eight. With the institution of the
praetor’s office our modern court system of judge and jury was firmly
established, and a beginning was made in the development of Roman Law.
On taking office the praetor published an edict containing the maxims
of law and the forms of procedure which would govern him throughout his
year of office. This document followed the edict of his predecessor,
with such modifications and additions as his own judgment and the needs
of the times required. The law in this way became a living thing and
constantly adapted itself to the changing needs of society. The later
history of the edict and certain additions to the praetor’s duties we
shall have occasion to notice in another connection.

The increase which the tribune’s power underwent during this period
almost made his office a new one. With their characteristic hesitation
about introducing radical changes in the constitution, and with their
tendency to take concrete action, the Romans at the outset had required
the tribune to intervene in person when a citizen was being harshly
treated. But their common sense showed them in course of time that it
was far better to allow the tribune to record his opposition to a bill
when it was under consideration than to have him prevent the execution
of a law. This change placed a tremendous power in the hands of the
tribune in his struggle with the senate and the nobility.

In the early period the senate had been composed of the representatives
of the leading clans, but as public business became more complex,
in making out the list of senators the censors gave a preference to
ex-magistrates, who were already experienced in public affairs, and
in course of time this practice was crystallized into law. The men
who thus became senators by virtue of having held the praetorship, or
consulship, for instance, were elected to a magistracy, to be sure,
by the people, but the prestige of a candidate who could point to
magistrates among his ancestors was so great that a “new man” had
little or no chance of being elected against him. The results were
twofold. A new nobility was established composed of ex-magistrates
and their lineal descendants. In the second place the senate, being
henceforth made up of men who had had experience in administration at
home and abroad, easily gained supremacy both over the magistrates,
who held office for a year only, and over the popular assemblies,
which were unwieldy and ill-informed on important matters. For a
century and a half, down to the time of the Gracchi (i.e., the second
century B.C.), this nobility maintained itself, and Rome was ruled by
a parliament. This state of things is the more astonishing in view of
the fact that at the beginning of this period the democracy had won a
complete victory, and the action of the popular assembly was accepted
as final on all matters. The anomaly is easily explained by the fact
that the senate controlled the magistrates; they only could bring bills
before the assemblies, and they dared not submit measures of which the
senate disapproved.

The ascendency of the senate during this period was due in no small
measure to the necessity of dealing with important foreign affairs,
for which the people were not qualified. Between 287 and 133 came the
war with Pyrrhus and the acquisition of Southern Italy, the three
wars with Carthage and the conquest of the Western Mediterranean, the
wars with Macedonia and the subjugation of the Eastern Mediterranean.
By 133 Rome’s territory included practically all the lands bordering
on the Mediterranean. The government of this newly-acquired empire
was a peculiarly difficult problem for a city-state. It was somewhat
simplified however by the fact that in her ultimate arrangements Rome
had to deal with city-states like herself. In Italy, at the outset, she
gave conquered cities civil rights and the right of self-government.
The Social War in 91-89 B.C. forced her to grant them the political
rights of Roman citizens also. Henceforth Italy was a political unit,
but, inasmuch as ballots could be cast at Rome only, voters outside
the city were at a disadvantage. The Roman Republic never got far
enough away from the tradition of the city-state to recognize the fact
that citizens could cast their ballots elsewhere than at Rome or that
other communities could send their representatives to Rome.

To provide for a new province outside Italy, the senate sent a
commission of ten to co-operate with the Roman commander in drawing
up a charter. In this document the province was divided into judicial
circuits, and the status of each city was fixed either by separate
treaty with Rome or by legislative action. Provincial cities were
usually permitted to retain their senates, popular assemblies, local
magistrates and courts. A few of them were “free cities,” exempt from
taxation, but most of them were required to pay a fixed sum in taxes,
or to turn over to Rome a certain proportion of the annual return
from the land. The rate of taxation was not high, but farming out the
taxes to contractors, whose sole desire was to extort as much from the
provincials as possible, made taxation in the provinces oppressive.
Roman governors were often in league with the moneyed interests at
Rome, and were themselves anxious to line their pockets during their
year abroad. After a period of experimentation the Romans settled
down to the practice of sending out ex-consuls and ex-praetors as
provincial governors. These men had experience in public affairs, but
their term of office was so short that they acquired little knowledge
of local conditions and felt little sympathy with the provincials.
Public sentiment at Rome could effect no change, because, like most
democracies, the Roman democracy felt little interest in the welfare of
the provincials.[4]

The tribunates of the two Gracchi[5] at the end of the period which
we have been considering begin the century-long revolution which
ultimately overthrew the oligarchy and brought in the empire. The
attention of Tiberius Gracchus was called to the gradual disappearance
of the peasant proprietor from Italy, to the abnormal growth of the
city at the expense of the country, and to the crushing out of the
middle class. He and his brother set themselves to work to remedy this
situation by limiting the size of landed estates, by assigning state
lands to homesteaders, and by drafting off the city’s proletariat to
colonies in Italy and abroad. In these plans Tiberius met the violent
opposition of the senate, but carried his measures through in a popular
assembly in spite of the senate’s efforts. By this action, and by
securing “the recall” of a hostile tribune, he struck a fatal blow
at the prestige of the senate, which had controlled legislation for
a century and a half. Ten years later by securing the passage in the
popular assembly of one bill to supply grain to the poor of Rome at a
price lower than the market rate, of another imposing a penalty on a
magistrate who carried out the final decree of the senate suspending
certain constitutional guarantees, and of a third which dealt with the
taxes in Asia, Gaius, the brother of Tiberius, vindicated the claim of
the popular assembly to be the controlling factor in legislation on
domestic and foreign affairs. The political history of Rome for the
next century is a continuation of this life-and-death struggle between
the nobility and the democracy, with one and the other contestant
alternately in the ascendant. The development of the empire and the
need of a standing army to carry on wars abroad and maintain order, in
the end, gave a decisive turn to the struggle.

To maintain its integrity an oligarchy must keep its numbers small and
must prevent individuals from gaining too great eminence or popularity.
The traditional acceptance by the masses of certain families as the
only families qualified to furnish rulers for the state had kept the
nobility a close corporation. To accomplish the second object, that is,
to prevent an ambitious individual from rising too rapidly to power,
from holding his authority too long a time, and from securing too
strong and compact a following, the senate had hedged the magistracies
about with a number of legal safeguards. The strict laws enacted before
the time of the Gracchi against bribery and prescribing a secret
ballot were passed to protect the nobility, and not in the interests
of morality. Custom at first, and later, legislation, fixed minimum
age requirements for most of the offices, established a certain order
in which they must be held, and required an interval between the
incumbency of two successive magistracies. The reactionary recasting
of the constitution under Sulla illustrates well the aristocratic
policy in these matters. In it the important magistracies stand in
the order of quaestorship, aedileship, praetorship, and consulship,
and a two-year interval was necessary between each two. The minimum
age requirement for the consulship was forty-three years, and no one
might be reëlected to a magistracy until a period of ten years had
expired. This is essentially the system which had been gradually worked
out during the flourishing period of the oligarchy. It had also always
been a fundamental principle of the Republic that no magistrate should
hold office for more than a year, except the censor, whose term was
eighteen months. This provision of the constitution took from the
magistrate his power and desire to initiate political action. He had
been a senator for many years before becoming consul. In twelve months
he would be a senator again. He did not lose class-consciousness during
his short term of office. If he had wished to assert himself, it would
have been impossible. The senate was a body of trained administrators,
many of whom had a wider technical knowledge of the questions at issue
than he had himself. It was a body of men bound together by mutual
self-interest, which had a tradition of centuries behind it. The
danger point in the system for the oligarchy lay in the fact that an
army and unlimited authority had to be given to the governor of a
province. The senate tried to minimize this danger by keeping a tight
grip on the purse-strings when appropriating money and in voting
troops for the provinces, and by requiring governors to submit their
arrangements in the provinces to the senate for ratification, when
their terms had expired.

The decline of parliamentarism in the century which lies between the
Gracchi and Caesar may be traced in the loss of these safeguards, one
after another. Disorders at home, the pressure of wars abroad and the
dominance of the army led to their disregard. A case in point occurred
toward the close of the second century before our era. The senatorial
leaders had shown great incompetence and venality in their campaigns
against the Numidian king Jugurtha, and the popular party forced the
election to the consulship of Marius, a man of humble birth, and gave
him command of the forces in Africa. His brilliant success in this
war made the people turn to him in 104, when the Cimbri and Teutons
swept down into Italy and overwhelmed the aristocratic leaders. Once
more he succeeded, and was elected to the consulship year after year,
until, in the year 100, he held this office for the sixth time. The
popularity of Marius brought his son to the consulship before he had
reached his twentieth year. Twenty-five years later the senate itself
was forced to give up an important feature of its policy. Sertorius,
a brilliant democratic leader, had established himself in Spain; he
had formed an alliance with Mithridates, Rome’s deadly enemy in the
East, and threatened to return to Italy and restore the democracy to
power. To avert this danger the senate made Pompey proconsul, although
he had not yet held even the quaestorship, and sent him to Spain with
40,000 troops. A little later the Gabinian and Manilian laws, carried
through by the democracy against the vigorous opposition of the
oligarchy, entrusted him with extraordinary powers for a long term to
carry on the wars against the Cilician pirates and against Mithridates.
The dictatorship of Sulla in 82 B.C. and the sole consulship of
Pompey in 52, both of which resulted from disorder in Rome, violated
the principle of collegiality which was one of the most important
safeguards of the oligarchy. Within one hundred years, then, of the
time of the Gracchi all the bulwarks which the aristocracy had built
up to protect its position were broken down. “New men” were put in the
consulship. Popular favorites attained that office before reaching the
minimum age required of candidates, and men were freely reëlected to
it. The fixed “order of the offices” and the principle of collegiality
were violated.

In its struggle for power, the democracy met a reverse in the
suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy in 63 B.C., so that
when Pompey returned from his campaign against Mithridates in the
following year, the senate ventured to postpone the ratification of
his arrangements in Asia and the reward of his veterans. This forced
him to make common cause with the democratic leader Caesar, and with
Crassus, whose wealth and financial associates made him a man of great
influence. In 60 B.C. these three political leaders formed the compact,
known as the First Triumvirate, which directed the politics of Rome
through its control of the popular assembly for a number of years.[6]
Caesar was given the consulship, and later an important command in
Gaul. The death of Crassus in a campaign in Parthia left Caesar and
Pompey face-to-face. Pompey who had staid in Rome ultimately threw in
his lot with the senatorial party, and, when in 49 B.C. the senate
tried to make Caesar give up his Gallic province and the Civil War
broke out, Pompey was put in charge of the army operating against
Caesar. Caesar’s success in the war made him undisputed master of Rome,
and before his death he became dictator for life. The liberators, as
they called themselves, made a last stand for the old régime, but were
defeated at Philippi, and the victors, Octavius, Antony and Lepidus,
formed the Second Triumvirate, the members of which did not content
themselves with the unofficial position of political bosses, as Caesar,
Crassus, and Pompey had done, but secured a legal basis for their
autocratic power through legislation in the popular assembly. Again the
elimination of one member of the triumvirate, Lepidus, and the battle
of Actium in 31 B.C. left Octavius, or Augustus as we know him in later
life, in undisputed control of the state. The revolution was complete.
The old machinery of government had broken down under the strain put
upon it by the policy of imperialism. Parliamentarism and the narrow
policy of a city-state were ill adapted to the government of an empire.
The large armies and the long terms of office abroad which Marius and
Sulla, Pompey and Caesar had held, had put at their disposal greater
resources than the state could command, and the Roman citizens and
provincials who had been taught to obey them implicitly in the field
maintained their allegiance to their old commanders upon the return of
the latter to Italy.


The problem which confronted Augustus in revising the constitution
after the battle of Actium was not simple. He had to provide a just
and efficient government for an empire, which included southern and
central Europe, the Near East, and northern Africa, without breaking
away too violently from the traditions of the city-state. Rome must
continue to be the capital. Italy must hold her privileged position
above the provinces, and the old organs of government and the old
forms and titles must be kept. The political life of the Republic had
been embodied in two institutions, the senate and the tribunate.
One represented the aristocracy; the other, the aspirations of the
democracy. These two organs of government formed the core of the
system which Augustus finally adopted. In this arrangement therefore
he adhered closely to the tradition of the old city-state.[7] Other
considerations reinforced in his mind the argument from tradition.
The tribunician power, which he took for life, could be exercised in
almost every field of administrative activity. Furthermore, the office
was popular, because the tribune had from time immemorial been the
champion of the masses and had protected the individual against the
encroachments of the state. Probably Augustus also felt that the power
of the office, from its nature and history, was capable of indefinite
extension in all directions.

Outside of Rome and Italy the problem before him was the improvement of
conditions in the provinces.[8] To the provinces also he applied the
dual system of control. The supervision of Italy and the management of
the older provinces were entrusted to the senate. The border provinces,
where troops were stationed, he took into his own hands. He directed
the government of them by virtue of the proconsular _imperium_ which
he held permanently. In this case, as in that of the tribunician
power, he held firmly to an old practice, because proconsuls had
ruled the provinces for centuries, but he extended the scope of his
own _imperium_ to cover all the unsettled provinces. This arrangement
made him commander-in-chief of all the legions. He also held the power
permanently, and he was not required to lay down the _imperium_, as
republican proconsuls had done, on entering the city. The whole empire
was thus put under the dual control of Augustus and the senate. This is
the first instance in history of the establishment of a constitutional

The provinces profited greatly by the changes which Augustus made in
the method of governing them. The evils of the republican system come
out in Cicero’s orations against Verres, the governor of Sicily, and in
the letters which he wrote while he was himself governor of Cilicia.
Governors had been sent out to the provinces without paying much heed
to their competence. They received no salary, and their terms were
short. The governors whom Augustus sent out were chosen on the score
of honesty and fitness. Their terms were long enough to enable them
to become familiar with conditions in their provinces. They received
a generous fixed salary, and those who were capable and honest might
look forward to steady advancement. The older provinces were still
under the control of the senate, but the excellence of government in
the imperial provinces exercised a beneficial influence upon them also.
Italians and provincials welcomed the firm and stable government which
the principate of Augustus promised them in the same spirit in which
the French accepted Louis Napoleon.

The development of the city-state into a world-empire is well
illustrated by the decadence of the popular assembly which represented
the narrow, selfish interests of the city of Rome, and we are not
surprised to find the election of magistrates transferred from this
body to the senate under the successor of Augustus. As for the
magistracies they lost their independence in large measure. Augustus
introduced the practice of commending certain candidates for office,
and his approval assured them election. Consequently they became
subordinates in the new executive system, of which he was the head.
The functions of government were divided between the prince and the
senate, but the lion’s share fell to the prince. The senate could not
successfully assert, in dealing with him, the claims which it had made
good against an annually elected magistrate of much less prestige and
power. Another circumstance contributed greatly to lessen the influence
of the senate. During his declining years Augustus could not attend
all its meetings. Consequently he adopted the practice of sending it
his proposals in writing. They were always adopted without change, and
propositions of this sort, known as _orationes principis_, became in
the course of time part of the law of the land.

The powers which Augustus held were granted to him for life or for a
term of years. It was not easy to arrange for their transmission to a
successor, but he cleverly surmounted the difficulty by naming Tiberius
as heir to his private fortune and by having him invested with the
_imperium_ and with the tribunician power. The theory of the republican
magistracy was kept intact, inasmuch as the two powers just mentioned
were conferred on Tiberius by the senate in coöperation with the
people, but the action of the popular assembly was a pure matter of
form, and the senate could be counted on to approve the choice of the
prince. The precedent which Augustus set was followed by his immediate

He materially strengthened his position by clearly marking off certain
social classes from the rest of the population and by making their
privileges dependent on his favor. No one could become a senator
unless he had been elected to a magistracy, and success in an election
required the support of the prince. He gave dignity to the knighthood
and definiteness to its membership by making important appointments
from its ranks, and by revising the list of knights at regular
intervals. He even created an aristocracy among the freedmen in the

No survey of Roman politics would be complete without some account
of political life in these municipalities, for, as we have already
noticed, the city was the organic political unit in antiquity. Several
municipal charters,[9] most of which have been found within the last
fifty or seventy-five years, give us a clear idea of the municipal
system in the West and of the efforts which were made in the early
empire to improve it and make it uniform. In cities of the typical
form there were two local chief magistrates corresponding to the
early republican consuls, two minor magistrates who bore the title
of aediles, a senate or common council of one hundred members, and a
popular assembly. The system adopted was conservative, inasmuch as the
control of local affairs rested largely with the local senate, and
the magistrates were its ministers. Most cities were allowed to keep
a large measure of self-government under the early empire, and this
fact kept alive the sentiment of local pride and the local patriotism
of the citizens. So long as the cities were free to manage their own
affairs, the empire was prosperous. As the cities lost their sense
of responsibility, or as the central government encroached on their
rights, as it began to do in the second century of our era, the decline
of the empire set in. It was to this halcyon period of municipal
prosperity from the latter part of the first to the close of the second
century that Gibbon pays his famous tribute in the third chapter of his
history: “If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the
world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and
prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from
the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.” We need not stop
to consider in this connection whether the decline of this prosperity
caused the decay of self-government or was due to it. At all events the
two processes were contemporaneous.

To return from this brief account of city-life to the story of imperial
politics,--as we have noticed, under the system which Augustus set up,
there were two recognized sources of authority in the state, the prince
and the senate. We say “recognized sources of power,” because in the
background loomed up the sinister figure of the army, which was still
capable of determining the fortunes of the state, as it had done in the
times of Sulla and Marius, of Pompey and Caesar. Perhaps we may see
the first step toward the intrusion of the army into politics again
when Sejanus, the unscrupulous praetorian prefect of Tiberius, brought
all the cohorts of the praetorian guard together in Rome. The control
of these soldiers stationed in the capital put a powerful weapon in
the hands of Sejanus, but, before he could strike, his designs were
laid bare. The hereditary principle which Augustus had introduced,
by adopting Tiberius and by conferring imperial honors upon him, a
principle which was followed by his immediate successors, was for a
time a safeguard for the succession. But when the Julian line became
extinct on the murder of Nero, the field lay open to the imperial
aspirant who was backed by the strongest army. After a year of struggle
between four military leaders, Vespasian made good his claim to the
prize, and in the year 69 founded a new dynasty, the Flavian. The
precedent which Vespasian had set was not followed for a century, but
from the close of the second century to the accession of Diocletian in
284 the praetorian guard and the army constituted the power which made
and unmade the rulers of Rome. Within the period of seventy-three years
which preceded the reign of Diocletian there were in fact twenty-three
different emperors, almost all of whom owed their elevation to the
throne to the force of arms, and kept their places on the throne so
long as they could keep the favor of their armed supporters.

Vespasian, whose seizure of the imperial purple we noticed a moment
ago, was not a native of the city of Rome, as all the members of the
Julian line had been, nor did he belong to a noble family. These two
facts might almost be taken as an omen of the great change which he and
his successors were to bring about in the position of Rome and Italy
in the Roman world and in the political standing of the senate. The
exceptional position which Rome and Italy had held under the republic
was taken from them in part by robbing them of their privileges and in
part by raising the provinces to a higher political plane. Augustus
had started the new movement by stationing troops in Italy and by
taking the municipal departments in Rome under his control. Within a
century the same fate befell other Italian municipalities which had
befallen Rome, and they had to surrender to the emperor the control
of their finances and their jurisdiction in all important civil and
criminal cases. The privilege which at first Rome and later the Italian
municipalities guarded most jealously was their exclusive right to
Roman and Latin citizenship. Claudius turned from this tradition when
he granted these privileges to certain Gallic cities, and the Flavian
emperors violated it in a still more striking way by their generous
treatment of many cities in Spain. The levelling down of Italy to
the position of the provinces, so far as citizenship was concerned,
was completed when Caracalla in 212 granted Roman citizenship to
practically all freemen in the empire.[10] In this connection may be
mentioned a significant change which was made in the organization of
the army. The legions from the time of Hadrian on were recruited in
all parts of the empire, and officers were no longer drawn solely from
the Western and Latin-speaking portion of the Roman world, but from
the East also. The army therefore ceased to be the great Romanizing
influence which it had been in the past, and what was still worse, a
feeling of local solidarity grew up which was destined in the end to
be fatal to the unity of the empire. It was this feeling which gave
rise to the nationalist movement in the third century, and the Gallic
kingdom of Postumus in the West in that century and the kingdom of
Zenobia in Palmyra in the East were concrete manifestations of this
feeling and at the same time premonitions of the future dissolution of
the empire.

We noticed not only that Vespasian was born outside of Rome, but
also that he was of lowly birth. Perhaps the latter fact accounts in
part for the hostility which the senate showed toward him, and for
the effort which it made in the early part of his reign to assert its
authority. The movement was short-lived. The prince and the senate
were partners of unequal strength in the dyarchy which Augustus had
established, and Vespasian soon made this fact clear to the senate. It
came out still more clearly in the reign of his younger son Domitian,
who had himself made censor for life, and by virtue of this authority
drew up the lists of senators to suit his own pleasure. The tradition
of the city-state had been violated and the prestige of the senate had
been lowered when Julius Caesar admitted provincials to the senate.
This revolutionary precedent was freely followed by emperors during
the second half of the first century. This transformation of the Roman
senate into a body made up of representatives drawn from all parts
of the empire was part of the larger change of the Roman _imperium_
into an international world-state. The senate was still allowed to
elect the emperor, but the election meant nothing more than the
formal ratification of a choice made by the candidate’s predecessor
or by the army, and “Caesar’s candidates” for the magistracies were
always elected by the senate. The senate’s legislative powers had
almost disappeared, because the senate had given up to the emperor
almost entirely its right of initiative. We have already observed the
importance which the “discourses of the prince” had acquired in the
field of legislation. Through the opportunity which they gave him of
declaring his will, and by the issuance of edicts, decrees and other
“constitutions,” as they were called, the emperor took the lawgiving
power almost completely into his own hands. The one real power which
the senate exercised under the empire, long after its legislative and
electoral functions had lost most of their meaning, was its right
to sit as a court, especially in important political cases. In this
capacity it had authority to impose the penalties even of banishment,
deportation, and death, but by the beginning of the third century this
jurisdiction, except where senators were charged with crimes, had
passed to the emperor. By the close of this century the Roman senate
had completed the cycle and come back to the status which it had held
in the primitive city-state, that of a municipal council.

This gradual loss of power by the senate meant a corresponding
increase of course in the influence of the emperor, but his supremacy
was assured also by positive additions to his authority in other
directions. Hadrian in the early part of the second century built up
a bureaucracy[11] so large and so systematically organized that it
enabled him and his successors to reach into the remotest parts of the
empire and control the government of municipalities and the lives of
all the citizens. Probably the world has never known so complete and
crushing a paternalistic system as is revealed to us by the _Codes_ of
Theodosius and Justinian in the fifth and sixth centuries.

The drift toward autocracy was greatly accelerated by the influence
which Egypt and the Orient exercised on the development of the
principate. Perhaps the Oriental practice of identifying the secular
and divine rulers of the world never found complete acceptance in Rome,
but the erection of altars in the provinces to Rome and Augustus,
the attribution of the titles “Master and God” to Domitian by his
procurators, and in the third century the introduction into the court
of Elagabalus of the Persian practice of paying divine honors to the
sovereign, the presence of eunuchs in the palace of Aurelian, and the
wearing of the Eastern diadem by Diocletian, show clearly enough that
the principate was taking on the form of an Oriental despotism. The
conception of the emperor’s authority which these practices suggest
finds expression in the _Code_ of Justinian in the sixth century.[12]
The first words of the rescript in which Justinian authorizes Tribonian
to codify the laws of the empire are: “We, under divine guidance
governing our realm, which has been entrusted to us by the powers
above, etc.” We shall see in the next chapter that under the prevailing
theory of Roman lawyers from the second to the sixth century the
emperor derived his authority from the people, but this utterance of
Justinian and other passages in the _Code_ show us the beginnings
of the doctrine of the divine right of kings which Rome transmitted
from the Orient to the states of modern times. When this point in the
development of the empire had been reached, the preëminence of the city
of Rome had gone, the distinction between Italy and the provinces
had been obliterated, Roman citizenship had lost its significance,
the splendor of the senate and the magistracies had faded, and the
municipalities, which had been the pride and glory of the early
empire, were plunged in poverty and wretchedness. In their place is
an autocrat, kept in power by an army made up largely of barbarians,
who carried out his wishes through a bureaucracy; and this, in turn,
was supported by a body of citizens divided into groups by a system
of castes, and held in most cases to the soil and to their hereditary
occupations by the will of the state.



In the brilliant argument which Belloc makes in _Europe and the Faith_
to prove that “the Roman Empire with its institutions and its spirit
was the sole origin of European civilization,” he goes so far as to
maintain that “the divisions and subdivisions of Europe, the parish,
the county, the province, the fixed national traditions with their
boundaries, the routes of communication between them ... all these
derive entirely from the old Roman Empire, our well-spring.” He finds
in the Church of Rome the medium through which this inheritance has
been transmitted. With this Catholic essayist the Protestant historian,
Harnack, is in substantial agreement when he writes: “The Empire has
not perished, but has only undergone a transformation.... The Roman
Church is the old Roman Empire consecrated by the Gospel.”

Before we take up for consideration certain points of resemblance and
of difference between our political institutions and those of ancient
Rome, it is interesting to stop for a moment to ask ourselves in what
respects the tradition and the ideals of the Roman state have been
perpetuated by the Church of Rome. In the first place the Church is the
lineal successor of the Empire in the sense that she saved Europe from
chaos when the political ties which bound its several component parts
to Rome were severed, and she conserved with all her power through the
Middle Ages the Roman elements which escaped being engulfed by the
wave of barbarism. More than that, she kept alive the old tradition of
world-empire, no longer of the flesh, but of the spirit. Like the old
Empire her domain embraced diverse lands and peoples. She resembled
and she resembles the Empire now in the fact that she follows law
and tradition strictly. She requires implicit obedience from the
individual, and the interests of the individual are subordinated to
those of the organization. In all these characteristics she is the
true spiritual daughter of the Roman Empire. We noticed a moment ago
that the realm of the Church, like that of the Emperor, included many
different lands. The territorial parallelism between the two systems
goes beyond this general point of resemblance.

As Sohm has put it in his _Outlines of Church History_, “the city
or _civitas_ was the lowest political unit of the Empire. It became
the lowest political unit of the Church. In the constitution of the
Church the territory of the city appeared as the episcopal diocese.
In the constitution of the Empire the province, with the provincial
governor, stood above the _civitas_. The episcopal dioceses were united
in like manner under the direction of the metropolitan, the bishop
of a provincial capital, forming an ecclesiastical province. In the
constitution of the Empire, from the fourth century, several provinces
composed an imperial diocese under an imperial governor (vicarius). The
imperial diocese also (at least in certain parts of the Eastern Greek
Church) formed, after the fourth century, part of the ecclesiastical
constitution, as the district of a patriarch, to whom the metropolitans
of the imperial dioceses were subordinate. Finally the general union
of the churches corresponded to the general union of the Empire,
with the imperial Council (the so-called Oecumenical Council) as its
legitimate organ.... Thus in its old age the Roman Empire bequeathed
its constitution to the young Church.... It was its last great legacy
to the future.”

And later Sohm goes on to say: “To this day the diocese of the
Catholic bishop is the copy of the Roman _civitas_; the province of
the Catholic archbishop, the copy of the Roman imperial province;
and the Catholic Church under a Pope declared omnipotent by law, the
copy of the ancient Roman Empire, with its Caesars who claimed the
world as their possession.” The Church extended its limits in ancient
times and still extends them by new conquests, just as the Empire
did. The missionary expeditions of Gregory in the sixth century, like
the Jesuit enterprises in North and South America in recent times,
were carried out in the spirit of Caesar or Trajan, and, after the
Christian conquest of England, Gregory spoke as a Roman Emperor might
have spoken, when he said “In one faith He linked the boundaries of
the East and the West.” The absolute power of the Emperor in the later
period is continued in tradition by the infallibility of the Pope, and
the remarks of the city prefect, Themistius, to Theodosius the Great,
“thou art the living law,” might be made with propriety to the Pope
of today. The title “Pontifex Maximus” is common to both rulers, and
there is a striking similarity between other ecclesiastical titles and
those in the official Roman list of the _Notitia Dignitatum_. Latin
is the official language of the Church, as it was of the Empire; the
Pope consults the College of Cardinals, as the Emperor consulted the
Senate; Canon Law, which has been derived in part from Roman Civil
law, is codified as Roman Law was; the Councils seem to follow the
parliamentary procedure of the Roman Senate, and the dress of Church
officials is reminiscent of Roman times. In other words, what is
characteristic of the spirit of the organization and of the externals
of the Church of Rome is a direct inheritance from the Empire.


Let us pass now to consider the relation which our political theories
and institutions bear to those of Rome. A wise government aims to
strike a judicious balance between the rights of the individual and
the safety and welfare of the community. This happy mean can best be
determined by watching the play of the two principles in concrete
cases. Such an opportunity is offered to us by the history of the
ancient city-state which sets before us examples in which the two
ideals of government mentioned above are combined in varying degrees.
These instances range from Athens which favored the freedom of the
citizen to Delphi or Sparta which exalted the importance of the

We owe also to the Greeks and Romans the discussion of another
fundamental political problem and various attempts to solve it. Is
the ideal state a state ruled by one person, by a few persons, or by
all the citizens? This question was discussed with great acumen and
learning by Greek writers on political theory, and their views with
certain modifications have been transmitted to us by Cicero in his
treatise _On the Commonwealth_. Indeed the merits and defects of all
systems of government have been exemplified in the history of Rome
itself, which ran through the entire gamut of governmental forms.

The two most important Roman writers of the classical period on
political theory were Cicero and Seneca. Unfortunately only a part of
Cicero’s treatise _On the Laws_ has come down to us, and only fragments
of his book _On the Commonwealth_ are extant, but these two works were
known in their entirety to the early Roman jurists and to the Christian
Fathers, and have exerted a great influence on them, and through them,
upon us. Even in their present fragmentary form they show us what an
important contribution Cicero has made to political philosophy. Quite
outside the fact that he served as an intermediary between Greek
political thinking and that of our own times, his two works are of
great value to us, both because of Cicero’s method of approaching the
subject of the state and because of his conception of the organization
of society. Most of Cicero’s predecessors, with the exception of
Panaetius and Polybius, direct their attention to the ideal state, to
an imaginary commonwealth. Cicero in his _Commonwealth, De Re Publica_,
II. 1. 3, tells us that it is his purpose to study the Roman state “in
its birth, its growth, its maturity, and in its present strength and
vigor.” In other words he introduces the modern method of studying the
organization of actual states, and we have set forth, perhaps for the
first time, the fruitful conception of the state as an organism.

In discussing the organization of society, Cicero finds the source
of law and justice, not in utility, but in nature. Right and wrong
are determined _naturae norma_, (_De Legibus_, I. 16. 44). This law
of nature is not one thing in Rome, another in Athens; it is not one
thing today, another tomorrow, but it is eternal and immutable, (_De Re
Publica_, III. 22. 33). This conception of the _ius naturale_ was taken
up by Ulpian in the third century and by other early jurists, developed
in the _Code_ of Justinian, and handed down through the Middle Ages to
our own time. It covers “that body of principles of justice and reason
which men can rationally apprehend, and which forms the ideal norm or
standard of right conduct and of the justice of social institutions.”
From the Civil law it passed into Canon law through the encyclopedic
work of St. Isidore in the seventh century, and gave rise to the
tripartite division which Gratian sets forth in the _Decretals_, when
he writes: “_Ius naturale_ appears with the beginnings of the rational
creation, and remains unchangeable: the _ius consuetudinis_ (i.e.,
the _ius gentium_) had its inception later, when men began to live
together.... But the _ius constitutionis_ (i.e., the _ius civile_)
begins with the principles which the Lord delivered to Moses,” i.e.,
with written law. These distinctions have furnished the starting
point in most modern discussions of the subject. Cicero defined the
Commonwealth as “the affair of the people, but the people is not any
assemblage of men, gathered together in any fashion, but a gathering
united under a common law and in the enjoyment of a common well being,”
(_De Re Publica_, I. 25. 39). From this definition he seems to imply
that the state has a twofold purpose, to protect the individual, and
to promote his welfare. In one passage in his _Commonwealth_, (_De Re
Publica_, III. 13. 23), he makes a speaker in the dialogue enunciate a
theory of the state, out of which Rousseau may well have developed his
doctrine of the Social Contract: “But when one person fears another,
when man fears man, and class, class, then, since no one trusts his
own strength, a compact is made between the people and the rulers,
out of which springs that which Scipio approved--a state whose form is
determined by agreement.” This theory of the Social Compact, probably
derived from Cicero, was put forth again in the eleventh century. So
far as the form of the state goes, it may be monarchical, aristocratic,
or democratic, or these three elements may be combined in it, as Cicero
thought they were in the Roman state; Cicero followed Aristotle and
particularly Polybius, in the latter’s discussion of the constitutions
of Rome and Sparta. The views which Cicero held on this point were
taken up for consideration and emphatically denied by Jean Bodin in his
great work on the state in the sixteenth century.

Cicero regards any government as legitimate which secures justice and
promotes the well being of all its citizens, but he is dissatisfied
with monarchy or aristocracy. As the Carlyles have remarked, in their
_History of Mediaeval Political Theory in the West_, which has been
of great service to me at many points in this chapter in tracing the
development of Roman political doctrines through the Middle Ages,
Cicero believed that “every citizen had in him some capacity for
political authority, some capacity which ought to find a means of
expression.” Another fundamental social conception which comes to the
surface in Cicero, and is still more clearly stated in Seneca and
Marcus Aurelius and the Christian writers, is that of the homogeneity
of the human race, the brotherhood of man. To the Greeks, before the
time of Stoicism, there was a great gulf between themselves and the
barbarians. The Romans showed sometimes a similar contempt for other
people, but they recognized the intellectual and artistic superiority
of the Greeks. A century and a half before Cicero’s time Plautus
seriously or humorously refers to his countrymen as barbarians, when
compared with the Greeks. In other words the Romans believed in their
own superiority in some fields of human activity, but recognized their
inferiority to other peoples in other respects. This made them tolerant
of the institutions and practices of races which were brought within
the Empire, and formed the basis of that conception of the brotherhood
of man which did so much to ameliorate the condition of the lowly,
and which is the ideal towards which we somewhat ineffectually strive
today. Allied to this cosmopolitan doctrine of the brotherhood of
man, was the Roman doctrine concerning the composition of individual
societies or states. Aristotle’s theory of the organization of society
presupposes the inequality of the men who compose it. Cicero believed
in natural equality. We are alike, he says, in esteeming the same
virtues, in hating the same vices, in our possession of reason and in
our capacity for acquiring knowledge. Seneca is almost at the point
of extending this conception of natural equality to include even
slaves, for, as he says in his treatise on _The Giving and Receiving
of Favors_: “fortune has granted the slave’s body to his master, he
buys it and sells it, but the soul of a slave can not be bought and
sold.” We shall have occasion to return to this point later, but, while
we are speaking of Seneca, it may be well to mention his explanation
of the origin of the law of nature which was discussed a few moments
ago. The existence of the _ius naturale_ presupposes a state of nature
antecedent to the conventional institutions of society. This golden age
was not one of perfection, but rather of innocence. Avarice brought
it to an end. The institutions of society were made necessary by the
weaknesses of human nature. This view of Seneca harmonized with the
conception which the Christian Fathers later held of the condition
of man before the Fall, before sin came into the world, and has been
transmitted by them to us.

To return now to the doctrine of the natural equality of men and to
the belief that the universal capacity for the exercise of political
authority should find adequate expression, out of these principles
grew the doctrine which Roman lawyers from the second to the sixth
century have noted here and there in the _Codes_, that the power which
a government exercises is derived from the people. This source of
authority the emperors recognized in the _Codes_ up to the time of
Justinian. As the Carlyles have shown, this doctrine was accepted by
the lawyers in the Middle Ages. It applies to judicial authority, as
Bulgarus of Bologna teaches in the twelfth century, and to legislative
power, as Irnerius of the same century holds. Their arguments come
from the Roman period, because they are drawn from the _Corpus Iuris
Civilis_, and they borrow phrases from the _Digest_ and the _Code_.
The question naturally arose in their minds whether the people could
resume their authority or not. Scholars were divided on this point.
Some of them maintained that the popular will still found expression
in custom, and that therefore custom could override law. Most of them
believed that universal custom had this power, but that local custom
did not. Consequently they held that the sovereignty of the people
still found expression in custom. In passing we may note that we have
here the distinction between “unwritten” and “written” law or between
common law and statute law. The theory that the authority in the state
emanated from the people continued to be the prevailing doctrine as
late as the middle of the thirteenth century, as the Carlyles have
shown. It is maintained by Nicholas of Cues in the fifteenth century.
In his _Systematic Politics, Confirmed by Examples from Sacred
and Profane History_, published in 1610, the Calvinist, Johannes
Althusius, carried the doctrine to its logical conclusion that, since
the authority in a state rested on a contract between the people and
their ruler, the people had the right to depose him and resume their
delegated power. Hobbes in his _Leviathan_, which appeared in 1641,
believed in the principle of the contract, but in his opinion the
compact is made by the members of society with one another. The ruler
does not enter into the covenant. Consequently he is not bound by it.
The radical teachings of Althusius lay dormant for a century and a
half, to be taken up by Rousseau in his _Contrat Social_ and to form
the basis of the famous “Declaration of the Rights of Man” of 1789.

As Pollock has put it in his _Introduction to the History of the
Science of Politics_: According to Rousseau “every man gives up
himself and his individual rights as fully as in Hobbes’ covenant.
But the surrender is to the whole society, not to a sovereign. The
government is not the sovereign, but a mediator between the community
in its corporate capacity and its individual members as subjects.” In
his _History of the Theory of Sovereignty since Rousseau_, Merriam
has traced the development of the doctrine into our own times. The
conclusion at which he arrives for our own day is that “those who
adhere to the sovereignty of the general will or of public opinion,
sentiment, reason, do not mean that this sovereign is at any given
moment organized to express the will of the State; they mean that
it is to be obeyed, not immediately but ultimately.” Modern theory
therefore has come back to the position of Cicero and the Roman
jurists, although, as Bryce has said in his _Modern Democracies_, the
acceptance and development of the doctrine of popular sovereignty by
Rome, “was due to the pressure of actual grievances far more than to
any theories regarding the nature of government and the claims of the
people.” Before leaving the subject of popular sovereignty it is worth
while noticing the limitations under which it is exercised even in a
pure democracy and the transformation which a democracy inevitably
undergoes. On the first point, if we recall the history of the Roman
Republic which has been sketched in the preceding chapter, we shall
feel that, although Bryce is speaking of modern democracies, no more
accurate description can be given of the limitations which hemmed
in the Roman democracy than is to be found in his statement that
“popular powers are in practice more frequently negative or deterrent
than positive. The people can more readily reject a course proposed
to them than themselves suggest a better course.” Equally applicable
to the history of the patriciate, the senatorial oligarchy, and the
plutocracy under the Republic is his remark, drawn from a study of
modern conditions, that “nature is always tending to throw power into
the hands of the Few, and the Few always tend by a like natural process
to solidify into a Class, as the vapours rising from the earth gather
into clouds. Fortunately the Class, by a like process, is always
tending to dissolve.... Thus Free Government cannot but be, and has in
reality always been, an Oligarchy within a Democracy.”

The opposite doctrine to the one which we have been considering, that
of the divine right of kings, comes to the surface sporadically in the
_Code_ of Justinian, but it is not definitely formulated until we reach
the time of Gregory the Great in the sixth century. He develops the new
doctrine fully in his _Pastoral Rules_ and in his treatise on the book
of Job, as the Carlyles have shown, and it is from him that it passed
down into the Middle Ages and into later times. The Carlyles trace its
development to three causes: (1) the need of checking the anarchical
tendency of the primitive Church; (2) the favored position which the
Church had under the protection of the Emperor after the conversion of
Constantine; and (3) the influence of the Old Testament conception of
the position of the King of Israel. The teachings of the Old Testament
were reinforced by those of the New Testament. In the _Epistle to the
Romans_ we read, for instance: “Let every soul be subject unto the
higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are
ordained of God,” and elsewhere: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance
of man for the Lord’s sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme; or
unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of
evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well,” I. _Peter_, ii.
13-14. This second explanation of the source of authority in the state,
which the phrases used by the Roman jurists occasionally suggest, was
accepted by the early Church and transmitted by it through the Middle
Ages to modern times. The king was answerable only to God. To resist
him was impious.

A modification of the theory of the divine right of kings comes in as
the influence of the Papacy increases. Dante in his work _On Monarchy_
has stated the situation clearly, when he writes: “Therefore man had
need of two guides for his life, as he had a twofold end in life;
whereof one is the Supreme Pontiff, to lead mankind to eternal life,
according to the things revealed to us; and the other is the Emperor,
to guide mankind to happiness in the world, in accordance with the
teaching of philosophy.” But unfortunately these two fields of activity
overlapped each other, and it was not easy to say what the theoretical
and practical relation of these two supreme powers to each other was.
Pope Leo III had placed the crown on the head of Charlemagne in Rome
in the year 800. What the Pope had given in the name of the people of
the Roman world, he could take away, and at the death of an emperor,
the control of the empire returned to the hands of the Pope. The great
Pope, Hildebrand, in the eleventh century held firmly to this theory.
As the Carlyles have pointed out, he had a search made in the papal
archives and found what he believed to be convincing evidence of the
feudal dependence of the different kingdoms of Europe on the Roman See.
In the next century the great English scholar John of Salisbury writes
in his _Policraticus_: “the sword, the symbol of worldly power, the
prince receives from the hand of the Church.” Feudalism inculcated the
idea that each man owed allegiance to some one above him, the vassal
to his lord, the lord to the prince, the prince to the Emperor, and it
was only natural to complete the system by deriving the power of the
Emperor from the Pope, whose responsibility was to God. This conception
of the Pope as the ultimate source of authority throughout the world
with his seat in Rome continued the tradition of the unity of the
Roman Empire, which, as we shall soon see, was one of the most potent
influences at work throughout the Middle Ages. The history of medieval
political theory and practical politics in the Middle Ages turns
largely upon the conflict of these two doctrines, that the secular
ruler received his authority from the people or directly from God, or
that it came to him from the Pope, the vicegerent of God.

Bryce’s dictum that “every Monarchy becomes in practice an Oligarchy”
sums up the story of the Roman Empire. The Emperor could not in person
attend to all the business of the state. He had to organize the
government in departments, and delegate authority to the men whom he
put at the head of these departments. This was the plan, which, as
we noticed, Hadrian brought to completion in the organization of his
bureaucratic system, and we are not surprised to find in the _Codes_ of
Theodosius and Justinian abundant evidence of the unrestrained power
which this oligarchy exercised. Both the monarchies and the democracies
of today are adopting the Roman plan in the one form or the other. In
Germany and in certain other Continental countries before the World War
a highly organized bureaucratic system had been developed, while in the
United States we have temporary or permanent Federal commissions and
boards, like the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Coal Commission,
and the Railroad Labor Board, and many of the States have public
service commissions. All these have been added in late years to the
traditional bureaux and departments. “Government by commission” has
become a political catch-word, in some of our electoral campaigns, and
some of our political leaders fear that the intrusion of the Federal
or State government into the matters of everyday life and into local
affairs will restrain individual initiative and undermine the integrity
of local government. This result, at least, followed the development
of the paternal and bureaucratic system of Rome.


While it cannot be said that the constitutional development of England
and of countries whose constitutions are like hers can be traced in
all respects to Rome, it may be said with truth that the growth and
character of their constitutions bear a strong resemblance to those of
Rome, and that writers and political leaders, especially from the time
of the French Revolution to our own day, have studied Roman political
institutions and have applied the lessons drawn from their study to
the political and constitutional questions of the day. In Rome under
the Republic the people when they expressed their wish in the assembly
were omnipotent, just as the decision of the English people voiced
in Parliament is final. As it is in England, so in Rome the latest
pronouncement of the popular will rendered null and void any previous
enactment or statute in conflict with it. Rome had no formal written
constitution any more than England has, but as in England such legal
documents as Magna Charta, the Habeas Corpus Act, and the Parliament
Act of 1911 are recognised as being more fundamental than the ordinary
statute, so in Rome under the Republic the Laws of the Twelve Tables,
the enactment that a citizen charged with a capital offence had the
right of appealing to the people, and the principle that a _lex_, or
action of the popular assembly, took precedence of a decree of the
senate, were so embedded in tradition that no measure could be passed
in violation of the principles underlying them. Under the Empire,
however, we find a document which, so far as it goes, resembles
somewhat a written constitution, viz., the “Law of Vespasian conferring
the imperium.”[13] In this document we have a comprehensive and
systematic recital of the fundamental rights, powers, and privileges of
the Emperor. As we have just seen, Rome and England have not defined
the functions of the several organs of the state and their relation to
one another in a single document, with which all statutes, judicial
decisions, and administrative acts must conform, to be valid, as the
United States, France, Switzerland and most other modern nations have
done. However, the laws, precedents, and customs which direct the
public life of England and directed that of Rome in a sense make up
their constitutions. Constitutions of this sort, as Bryce maintains in
his _Studies in History and Jurisprudence_, are flexible. They bend but
do not break under the temporary blasts of popular passion or emotion.
They have grown up with the people and are part of the fibre of the
people. Going back, as they do, into the past, they have the mystery
and the dignity which antiquity gives them. The character of the Roman
and of the English constitutions reflect the character of the two
peoples and their likeness to each other. They bring out the practical
qualities of the two nations, their respect for the past, and their
ability to adapt their institutions to new conditions. One more point
of similarity between Roman and Anglo-Saxon fundamental laws lies in
the fact that both are concrete, and concern themselves little with
political doctrines. Both peoples drove straight at specific abuses,
without citing any principles of abstract right in justification of the
proposed reform.

In one respect Roman government differed fundamentally from that
of most modern states. The three functions of government which
Montesquieu clearly recognized, the executive, legislative, and
judicial, were not assigned to three different classes of officials
with as much care as they are today. Of course this lack of
differentiation is more noticeable in the early period than it is
in the later, but it persists even into the Empire. The Senate, for
instance, under the Empire not only legislated, but it nominally had
the right to elect the Emperor and the magistrates, and also sat as a
court to hear political charges made against members of the senatorial
order. Although the threefold division of governmental powers was
observed then only in part in the actual organization of the Roman
state, it was recognized by Aristotle and by Cicero in their works on
politics. The Greco-Roman doctrine on this subject was reaffirmed by
Bodin and Locke, as Garner has pointed out in his _Introduction to
Political Science_, before it was set forth as a fundamental principle
of political organization in the _Spirit of the Laws_. The teachings of
Montesquieu on this point became a part of the political philosophy of
the French Revolution. In England Blackstone maintained, as Montesquieu
had done, that there could be no public liberty when the right of
making and enforcing the law was vested in the same man or the same
body of men, or when the judicial power was not separated from the
legislative and executive. The makers of the Constitution of the United
States were profoundly influenced by Montesquieu and Blackstone,
and probably no modern constitution exemplifies so well as does the
American constitution the threefold division of powers recognized by
Cicero. As the Supreme Court has said in one of its decisions: “It
is believed to be one of the chief merits of the American system of
written constitutional law that all powers entrusted to the government,
whether state or national, are divided into three grand departments,
the executive, the legislative and the judicial; that the functions
appropriate to each of these branches of government shall be vested
in a separate body of public servants, and that the perfection of
the system requires that the lines which separate and divide these
departments shall be broadly and clearly defined.”

If we should try to set down the valuable contributions which the
Romans have made to modern political theory, or the achievements of
the Romans which we may study with profit, or the political qualities
in them which we may imitate to advantage, or the important political
principles or institutions which we have inherited from them, we should
think of the doctrines of popular sovereignty, of the equality and
brotherhood of man, of the practical proof which they have given us of
the value of a flexible constitution, of their teachings concerning
the theory of the state, and of their introduction of the historical
method of studying political institutions. Of all these contributions
to modern civilization we have already spoken. We should also think of
their devotion to the state, of their regard for law and tradition, of
their wise opportunism which made their political thinking practical
and concrete, of their development of a marvellous body of civil law,
of their careful observance of the principle of local self-government,
with its acceptance of local institutions and practices, and of their
success in promoting law and order and a feeling of social solidarity,
in improving material conditions throughout the world, and in governing
and civilizing backward peoples. This is a long list, but in all these
respects the political acumen of the Romans was noteworthy, and their
achievements either lie at the basis of modern civilization, as we
shall see, or may furnish us guidance in our political development.
In our discussion of the different branches of the government, and of
various fields of political activity, we shall have occasion to take up
in detail many of these points which have not yet been mentioned.



It may be convenient at the outset to compare some of the
characteristics of the legislative branch of the Roman government with
those of modern parliaments. The Roman method of legislating was very
similar in its essential features to that followed by the states of
this Union which freely use the initiative and referendum.[14] These
two political devices come to us of course from Switzerland. One
or both of them in their present form may be traced to Rousseau’s
opposition to representative government and to his advocacy of the
doctrine of popular sovereignty. But traces of the referendum may be
found in certain Swiss cities long before Rousseau’s day, and the
legislative principle which underlies it may possibly be an inheritance
from Roman times, preserved through the Middle Ages in the independent
Italian cities. Where the referendum prevails, an elected assembly,
the Legislature in our states and the Greater Council in the Swiss
cantons, is set over against the whole body of citizens, voting in
this country in their home towns, or in Switzerland at some central
point. Either legislative organization may initiate legislation, and
in practice most proposals originate in the elected body, from which
important or controversial matters are referred to the people. Popular
action overrides that of the chosen body. The people may not amend
a proposal, but must vote “Yes” or “No” upon it. This is an exact
description of the relation of the Roman senate to the popular assembly
under the Republic. The ancient system had the merits and defects which
we see in its modern counterpart. The assembly of the people helped to
preserve the rights of the democracy and gave expression to popular
aspirations. The aristocratic body, being made up of experienced
politicians and administrative officials, was better qualified to
deal with technical questions and foreign affairs, and the relative
importance of the two legislative organizations varied from one period
to another according to the predominance of the one set of questions
or the other. Naturally the problems arising out of long-continued
wars increased the prestige of the Roman Senate, just as its exclusive
right to approve treaties of peace with the Central European States
has enhanced the authority of the American Senate at the expense
of the Lower House. We noticed above that a few important matters
were reserved to the Roman popular assembly. One of these was the
declaration of an offensive war. Now in the last two or three years in
casting about for some means to avert future wars, it has been proposed
to take the right of declaring war from the Congress and to submit the
question in each case to the people. This proposal has been made partly
in the belief that the people who must bear the brunt of a war will
lean toward peace. If we may draw an inference from the attitude of
the Roman people, this conclusion is unfounded. Professor Tenney Frank
in his _Roman Imperialism_ has shown that the great war with Pyrrhus,
the First Punic War, and perhaps the Jugurthine War were forced on Rome
by the democracy against the desire and the judgment of the Senate.
The Senate knew better than the people what sacrifices of blood and
treasure such wars would mean.[15]

In one of the chapters of his book on _Society and Politics in Ancient
Rome_ the present writer has attempted a comparison between the Roman
Senate and the Senate of the United States.[16] The Roman Senate was,
and our Senate is, engaged in a struggle with the executive and with
another legislative body more popular than itself for the control of
the state. The life terms of Roman senators and the comparatively long
terms of our own senators put them largely beyond the reach of popular
sentiment, and give them a feeling of security in their positions.
The long and honorable tradition of both bodies and their _esprit de
corps_ strengthen this sense of security. Roman senators showed for
one another the same senatorial courtesy which has become a byword
with us. An element of strength in both organizations is the absence,
as a rule, of clôture. A measure submitted by an executive may easily
be talked to death or amended so as to bear slight resemblance to the
original proposal, if there is little or no limitation on debate.
But two powers in particular, enjoyed by both bodies, would give any
legislative organization an excellent means of controlling public
policy and of directing the administration of public affairs. I mean
the right to confirm important appointments and to be consulted in the
settlement of foreign affairs. What a tremendous influence the Senate
of the United States can exert through its right to participate in
the management of foreign affairs we have seen illustrated within the
last few years, and, as we have noticed in Chapter I, the Roman Senate
held the same position of advantage. Just as our senators control in
large measure the appointment to important offices, so the Roman Senate
rewarded with lucrative posts in the provinces the politicians who
supported its policies, and punished leaders like Caesar who opposed
it, with provinces “of forests and marshes.” It may be added also that,
as has been observed in Chapter I, the Roman Senate was made up of
former administrative officials who were familiar from past experience
with the questions which came before it, and the Romans did not have
the two-party system, which strengthens the hands of a government in
Anglo-Saxon countries. It is not strange, therefore, that in course of
time the Roman Senate reduced the magistrate to the position of its
minister, and that its policy became his policy. As in most modern
countries, the members of the government attended the meetings of the
legislative body and voted in it. It is interesting to bear the fact
in mind that we have felt in the United States the unfortunate results
which arise in the making of laws from the lack of close coöperation
between the legislative and executive branches of our government, and
it has been proposed lately to adopt the Roman practice to the extent
of allowing members of the Cabinet to attend meetings of the Congress,
without giving them the right to vote.


We have been speaking of points of resemblance between the Roman Senate
and the Senate of the United States. Some striking points of difference
between its procedure and that of modern legislative chambers should be
mentioned. A member of our Senate or House of Representatives, if he
were summoned to a meeting of the Roman Senate, would be as astonished
at the lack of parliamentary machinery, as was the Connecticut Yankee
of Mark Twain’s story at the lack of labor-saving devices in the
court of King Arthur. He would find no fixed order of business, no
quorum ordinarily required, no committees to collect facts and make
recommendations, motions not put in writing, and no minutes kept. He
would be still more astounded to find three or four mutually exclusive
motions before the house at the same time, from which the presiding
officer was allowed to make his choice. Yet no legislative body has
left behind it such a marvellous record of business-like achievement as
the Roman Senate has. This fact may well lead us to ask the question
whether the elaborate procedure and the complicated parliamentary rules
which our legislative bodies follow are necessary for the expeditious
transaction of business. This is not to say that the Roman method could
be adopted out of hand today. That was a matter of growth, but it may
at least suggest that it would be possible and wise for us to simplify
our procedure. Many of the practices peculiar to the Roman Senate
may be explained out of its history. Although it is the most famous
legislative body known, in theory it was not a legislative body at all.
It was in its origin only the Advisory Council, or _consilium_, of the
chief magistrate. Its members were merely the experienced old men whose
advice the king, and later the consul, sought. When he needed counsel
he called them together, and asked their opinions, following naturally
the order of age and eminence. In its outward forms the circumstances
of its origin were never forgotten. The Senate never met unless the
magistrate called it together. The business of the day was laid before
it by the presiding officer. Its members were not expected to give
their opinions until he asked them, and the presiding officer who was
asking advice could naturally pick out the proposal which seemed to
him wisest and ask the judgment on it of the other members, and it was
the traditional practice to make these proposals orally.

Up to the time of Tiberius Gracchus, near the close of the second
century before Christ, Rome was under a parliamentary government,
not unlike the government of France or Italy in its essential
characteristics. Under the constitution of 1875, for instance,
the chief executive of France is brought under the control of the
legislative body, just as the Roman Consul was made subject to the
Senate. All his acts of every kind, to be valid, must be countersigned
by one of his ministers, and it is always within the power of the
Chamber of Deputies to overthrow a ministry. In the absence of the
two-party system in Rome, and the consequent lack of a compact party
organization to support the Government, the Roman system was also like
that which is common on the Continent. Of course the Roman system was
pure parliamentary government in a higher degree than is the system in
vogue in any modern state, because the internal and external policy of
Rome was not thought of as the policy of Catulus or Messalla, but as
that of the Senate, whereas today, with a certain measure of propriety,
we speak of the policy of a Briand or of a Giolitti.

Of course the most marked difference between the Roman Senate and
modern legislative bodies lies in the fact that in the composition of
the ancient body the representative principle was not recognized. It
seems to us extraordinary that when, in her early career, Rome absorbed
neighboring Latin towns, and when, at the conclusion of the Social
War, she gave Roman citizenship to the cities of Italy, she did not
authorize them to elect representatives to the Senate. Instead of doing
so she required the people of these places to come to the city of Rome,
if they wished to vote. In view of this fact it is often said that
the Romans were not familiar with the representative system.[17] This
conclusion is, however, incorrect. Traces of the system may be found
among the Latins in the earliest times, in the sending of delegates
from the several towns to the Latin Games. Twice later in the fifth and
third centuries B.C., it was proposed in the Senate to allow Latins to
elect a certain number of the members to that body. The constitution
which the Italic State adopted in the Social War seems to have been
based on the representative idea, and the system which Aemilius Paullus
introduced into Macedonia in 168 B.C. was apparently a unicameral,
representative government. The Romans then were not ignorant of the
principle of representative government, but they did not adopt the
system for Italy and the empire because, by doing so, Rome would have
lost her exclusive rights, the balance of power would have passed
from the Latins, and in course of time provincial members of the
Senate would have outnumbered even the Italians. The lack of elected
provincial representatives in the Senate was made up in some measure
under the empire by the readiness which the emperor showed to listen
to the requests and complaints of individuals and cities all over the
world, and by the establishment of provincial assemblies, called Κοινά
in the East and _concilia_ in the West. When the Romans acquired Greece
and Asia they found that neighboring cities in these two regions had
already formed religious organizations or political federations. One
of these organizations, the assembly of Asia, toward the close of
the first century B.C. asked permission to establish the cult of Rome
and Augustus. This request was granted, and within the next century
provincial assemblies were introduced into most of the provinces of
the East and West, primarily to conduct the services of the imperial
cult and to celebrate games in honor of the deified emperor. But when
the representatives of the several cities of a province met in their
annual assembly, it was natural for them to discuss provincial affairs
of general interest, and in particular to consider the conduct of
the governor and the members of his staff. They never acquired the
right to legislate for a province, but they exercised rather freely
the right to call the attention of the governor and the emperor to
conditions in the province, and in the late empire it seems to be clear
from the _Theodosian Code_ that they discussed questions of taxation,
the public post, and cases of extortion by imperial officials. The
members of these assemblies seem to have been true representatives
of their respective cities, and not delegates with a mandate, and
in one province, at least, Lycia, they were chosen by a system of
proportionate representation. The Councils of the Church were the
natural successors of the provincial assemblies. Like the assemblies
they were concerned primarily with religious matters. The Provincial
Council, meeting under the direction of the Metropolitan, was made up
usually of the bishops of the province, but not infrequently we find
presbyters, deacons, and laymen present, sent by their respective
cities, and from the close of the fifth century, they, as well as the
bishops, often vote. Marsiglio of Padua in the thirteenth century
went so far as to assert that a General Council should be strictly
representative of both clergy and laity, and that a province should
have representatives according “to the number and quality” of its
inhabitants, and in the following century Occam worked out a complete
plan of representation for a Council. It has been suggested by Dunning
in his _History of Political Theories_ that Marsiglio may have based
his proposal on the system which he found in some of the medieval
Italian cities. If that hypothesis is correct, we have a double line of
descent in the later period, at least, for the representative idea. It
matters little that the political powers of the provincial assemblies
were limited, or that the bishops were the controlling element in the
Councils of the Church; the essential facts are that representative
government was well known to the Romans and that the representative
principle survived in the assemblies and in the Church Councils until
the Renaissance came to give it new life.

Probably no society has ever invented so many safeguards against
Caesarism as the Roman oligarchy did. As we have already noticed,
a candidate for a magistracy must have reached a specified age: he
must hold the offices in a fixed order, and an interval of time must
elapse before he can be re-elected to the highest office. His term
was a short one, and during it his actions were always subject to the
veto of his colleague. Another check upon him was furnished by the
recall. This very new political device is as old as the tribunate of
Tiberius Gracchus. It is an application of the doctrine of popular
sovereignty in its extreme form, and grew out of earlier attempts to
hold magistrates responsible for their conduct in office. The arguments
which Gracchus used in support of his proposal to recall his colleague,
Octavius, postulate the theory of popular sovereignty and sound
surprisingly like the considerations which are urged by the supporters
of the recall today. According to Plutarch, Gracchus said: “We esteem
him to be legally chosen tribune who is elected only by the majority
of votes; and is not therefore the same person much more lawfully
degraded, when by the general consent of them all, they agree to depose
him?” Perhaps we have not inherited the recall directly from antiquity,
but our acceptance of the Roman doctrine of popular sovereignty has led
logically to the development of the recall, as well as the initiative,
and the referendum.

One of the characteristic features of a Roman magistracy was the right
which an incumbent had to veto the action of a colleague; and the
tribune had the right, which he freely exercised, to veto the action
of any other official. In some respects the Romans used the veto power
in a more practical way than we do. Our governors, presidents, and
other chief executives may not interpose a veto until a measure has
been adopted and laid before them for their signature. Often they are
required to disapprove of long, important measures, which they would
gladly see adopted, were it not for some slight defect. Under Roman
practice a bill could be vetoed before action had been taken upon it,
or a tribune would ask for a night’s delay before action should be
taken. This arrangement gave proponents of a bill an opportunity to
change the objectionable features of it. In recent years various timid
excursions have been made into certain fields of political activity,
in which Roman magistrates exercised their power freely. We try to
influence the morals of people by exercising some supervision over the
stage and over the public press; and in time of war the government has
fixed the price of certain foods and attempted to provide for their
proper distribution. What the censor’s office did in its palmy days to
improve the morals of the people and to check extravagance and display
has been discussed in the last chapter, and in the aedile’s office the
Romans had a permanent Food Administration.

We have already observed that the political quality of the Romans which
made for progress and stability at the same time more than did any
other, was their ability to adapt old institutions to new conditions.
In the practice of assigning a board of experts to an official we have
an illustration of the way in which this result was accomplished.
Probably no people in antiquity used experts so freely, and perhaps
in modern times the practice is not so general as it was in Rome.
A magistrate was elected directly by the people each year. He was
better aware of the trend of popular sentiment than the average prime
minister. He could confidently be expected to advocate progress or
change. Attached to his office was a _consilium_, or body of expert
advisers, who were familiar with precedent and usage and who would hold
fast to the _mos maiorum_. In all departments of Roman public life such
boards of advisers are to be found. The king, and later the consul,
had the Senate as his _consilium_. The praetor, and, under the empire,
the emperor had their _consilia_ to assist them in the adjudication
of cases, and in the field of the state religion the chief pontiff
was advised by his board of pontiffs. The interaction of the forces
which these two elements represented resulted in the gradual reform of
old institutions, without too violent a break with law and tradition.
We may regard the imperial bureaux which Hadrian brought to a state
of perfection for the provinces as an extension of this system of
government by experts.

The Roman theory of the relation of the state and the church runs
through a cycle. The king was both chief executive and chief priest of
the people. When the republic was established, priestly and political
functions were dissociated, although all religious matters having a
political significance were left to the magistrate. Julius Caesar in
his dictatorship united in his person again the functions of the chief
magistrate and chief pontiff, and this precedent was followed by all
the emperors. The Emperor therefore held somewhat the same place in the
state religion as the Czar did in Russia before the Revolution, and as
the King does in England. This assumption of religious authority by the
political ruler was the first step toward the recognition of the Divine
Right of the Emperor; and the practice of paying divine honors to him,
which, as we have noticed in Chapter I, was introduced from the Orient,
fostered the development of the theory. In European countries the Roman
practice of uniting the spiritual and temporal powers has survived
in the form of a state religion or in the control of ecclesiastical
affairs which most states have assumed in some measure. The United
States, in enforcing a complete separation of State and Church,
stands almost alone among the Great Powers in not accepting the Roman

One cannot bring to an end even a brief discussion of the influence
which the executive and legislative branches of the Roman government
have exerted on the political life of our own times without mentioning
the remarkable revival which we have seen lately in Italian Fascismo,
of the old Roman spirit and of certain Roman political institutions. In
its purpose, its spirit, and its external form this movement revives
pure Roman tradition. It began to attain its present great strength in
the months immediately following the Armistice when there was a marked
decline of national feeling and when disorder and class struggles
were rife throughout Italy. It assumed the form of a great national
movement when it broke the general strike of August 1, 1922, which
threatened the orderly life of the whole nation. The Fascisti took this
step after the government had failed to set the wheels of industry
in motion again. The next step, the setting aside of parliamentary
government and the assumption of the dictatorship by Signor Mussolini,
the leader of the Fascisti, was inevitable. The whole course of events
during the last six months of 1922 duplicates incidents common enough
in early Roman history. Disorder arises throughout the peninsula or a
great danger confronts the state. The ordinary methods of government
are suspended, and a dictator is appointed to meet the emergency.
The dictator in the olden time called the citizens to arms, just as
Signor Mussolini assembled his one hundred and seventeen thousand
armed followers at the Villa Borghese in the autumn of 1922. These
men of today show the same spirit of unquestioning obedience to the
state which characterized the Roman in olden time. One may well think
himself back in the third century B. C., listening to the ancient
Roman soldiers gathered before their dictator, when he reads the
oath which the assembled Fascisti took in Rome on January 1, 1923:
“I swear loyalty to Benito Mussolini, who governs the destinies of
Italy. I swear devoted and absolute obedience to his government with
uncontrolled conscience, which involves also the supreme sacrifice
of life, the renunciation of all personal initiative, and the daily
practice of iron discipline.” That this movement was directly inspired
by Roman tradition is made plain by the symbols and forms which it
takes. It gets its name from the _fasces_, or bundle of rods, which
the lictor carried, as a symbol of the authority of the state, and the
Fascista army is organized like the old Roman army into _manipuli_,
_centuriae_, _cohortes_, and _legiones_.[18]

Who can say what this reawakening of the old Roman spirit may mean for
Italy? It has already given rise to a new _Risorgimento_. It was the
cause of Italy’s participation in the War and was the result of that
War. Italy bore her part of the burden of the War with the other great
Powers of Europe. She has freed herself from the economic domination
of Germany and from the threat of Austrian invasion. Her “Unredeemed
Lands” are restored to her. Her control of the Adriatic seems
assured. Out of these achievements surged up the feeling of national
independence and solidarity embodied in the Fascista organization,
which numbers now several hundred thousand young men, and at the same
time it was the Fasci or patriotic groups, which came into existence
in the early years of the war, that made these achievements possible.
The organization has set a bad precedent in its use of violent methods,
and in establishing a military force outside the state. In its dealings
with other peoples it may assert national ambitions too vigorously, but
it bids fair to give expression to the national genius and to inspire
Italy with a new life and vigor.


If one passes from the legislative and executive branches of the
Roman government to the judicial, he thinks at once of Roman law, the
greatest legacy which Rome has left us. With that subject we are not
concerned in this book. But the judicial machinery of the Romans and
some phases of their court procedure are of lively interest to one
who is comparing Roman and modern institutions. Of most importance to
us in this connection are the methods which the Romans followed in
dealing with _crimina publica_, with what we may roughly, but somewhat
inexactly, call criminal cases. For the hearing of such cases, by
the early part of the first century before our era, the Romans had
established eight or nine courts under the presidency of praetors and
ex-aediles.[19] The competence of these several courts was essentially
different from that of our courts and may well lead us to ask ourselves
if our system makes for efficiency. One Roman court, for instance,
confined itself to hearing cases of magistrates charged with extortion.
Others heard respectively only cases of forgery, or of treason, or of
corrupt practices at elections, or of peculation in office. Under this
system each court was peculiarly qualified from long experience to deal
with the class of cases which came before it. Under our practice today
where cases of different sorts come before the same judge, such special
competence as the Roman praetor and his board of trained jurists
attained can hardly be gained. The praetor’s court continued to about
the third century. Under the later empire criminal cases were heard
in Italy by the city prefect or the praetorian prefect, and in the
provinces by the governor.

The juries which sat with the praetor in hearing criminal cases were
much larger than ours. The smallest one of which we have any record
numbered thirty-two. A case was decided, as it is in most Continental
countries today, by a majority vote of the jurors. As used to be the
practice in the Scottish courts, the Roman juror could vote that a
charge was “not proven,” but probably in the later period such ballots
were counted for acquittal. The last extant reference to juries in
Roman times is from the second century after Christ. This fact has led
some modern writers to take it for granted that there is no connection
between the Roman jury system and the modern one. Before medieval
life had been studied carefully, this was a natural conclusion. Its
character was not well understood, and Roman institutions were so
modified in the Middle Ages that they were not easily recognized in
their later forms. It is also true that, until very recent times, many
who studied the origins of modern institutions did not raise their eyes
above the modern horizon, or were led by national pride to find those
origins among the peoples of their respective countries. This state of
things is true, not only of the jury system, but in the case of other
modern institutions, yet a more thorough and impartial historical
investigation is giving to the Romans the credit which is due to them.
We can do no more here than indicate very briefly the links which
connect the modern jury system with the ancient one. The character of
that system was indicated in the _Code_ of Theodosius. Much of this
_Code_ was adopted in the _Breviary_ of Alaric in 506 A.D. and in other
summaries based in part on the Roman law, such as the _Capitularies_ of
the Merovingian and Carolingian kings. It is therefore a significant
fact that under the Merovingians justice was administered by the Count,
but on the verdict of the notables, called in the texts _rachimburgii_
or _boni homines_. These _boni homines_ were chosen by the Count, or
judge, at the beginning of the hearing from the freemen assembled in
the court. The minimum number chosen was seven. Feudalism put an end
to the jury in France, and in its place cases were tried by ordeal,
by battle, or by compurgation on the Continent. At this point two or
three facts in the historical sequence are noteworthy. Our collection
of the _Capitularies_ was made in 827. Within a century the Normans
made themselves masters of North Western France. They readily adopted
French usages, and it is a fact admitted on all sides, since Palgrave’s
great work appeared a century ago, that the beginnings of the English
jury system were brought into England by the Normans in the form of an
inquest by sworn recognition. At first this method of deciding cases
was accepted only as an alternative mode of trial. Twelve knights were
selected who were required to declare on oath which contestant in their
opinion had the better right. The Continental countries took over the
jury from England after 1789. We are not concerned here with the many
complex questions which arise in attempting to explain the development
of the grand jury and the petty jury on English soil. The outstanding
fact is that we owe the judge-and-jury system to the Romans.

One of the most extraordinary features of their judicial system was the
fact that the Romans had no permanent public prosecutor. The bringing
of criminal actions under the republic was left to private initiative,
but there seem to have been enough ambitious politicians to prosecute
cases, at least those cases which were likely to bring distinction to
the successful prosecutor. Indeed on some occasions the praetor, before
beginning a trial, was obliged to give a preliminary hearing to several
lawyers who claimed the distinction of bringing the charge against the
accused party. The merits and defects of such a system are obvious.
Charges were likely to be pushed with vigor, because the reputation
of an advocate depended on securing a conviction, and sometimes a
patriotic citizen prosecuted a powerful politician when a public
prosecutor would have hesitated to do so. But on the whole the plan
did not work well. This was especially true when there was a political
element in the case. In such circumstances the charge was usually
brought by a political opponent, or what was worse still, a political
supporter might put the defendant on trial and secure an acquittal,
before a real prosecution could take place. Before being allowed to
undertake the prosecution of Verres, the venal and tyrannical governor
of Sicily, Cicero had to convince the presiding praetor that his
claim to the right of conducting the case was better than that of
Quintus Caecilius Niger, who had been quaestor of Verres, and hoped to
secure the acquittal of his former superior. Such cases of collusion
between the prosecutor and the defendant became so common, that a
heavy penalty was imposed on those found guilty of it. Even under the
empire, when the senate began to hear certain important cases, there
was no permanent public prosecutor, but the senate designated members
of its own body to conduct the prosecution and the defence. In these
trials the senate functioned as a jury, and the presiding consul, as a
judge. As the emperor gained a greater control of public affairs, it
was not unnatural that he should take over criminal jurisdiction in
important cases or delegate it to his prefects. When this point was
reached, probably the prosecution of criminal actions was assumed more
definitely by the state.

We frequently introduce “character witnesses” in our trials. The Romans
went still further. A Roman defendant brought with him to the court as
many prominent friends (_advocati_) as he could to make a favorable
impression on the jury. In important cases today in America, although
attorneys for the prosecution and defence sometimes give the jury brief
outlines of the case before the evidence is presented, their formal
pleas are not made until the evidence is in. Our method is inductive.
Formal pleas were usually made in a Roman court before the testimony
was given. Much can be said for the Roman plan. Having the analyses
of the case, as presented by the prosecution and defence, clearly in
mind, the average juryman is perhaps better qualified to decide which
theory is made more probable by the facts in the case and is in a
better position to pick out the salient facts than he is when dealing
with heterogeneous bits of evidence. The same looseness of procedure
which characterized the meetings of the Roman Senate is found in the
courts.[20] The jury was not under careful surveillance; demonstrations
of approval and disapproval occurred, violent discussions were not
always stopped, the rules of evidence were less strict than they are
with us, and technicalities played a less important part. In some of
these particulars Continental courts have inherited Roman practices
more fully than Anglo-Saxon courts have. In consequence of their
elimination of technicalities, the Romans brought important criminal
cases to an end much more quickly than we do, and justice was cheaper
than it is with us. In Anglo-Saxon courts hearsay evidence, the
opinions of witnesses, and facts irrelevant to the issue are excluded
by the presiding judge. These rules of evidence were not applied in
Roman courts, and when the Continental countries reintroduced the jury
system, they went back to the Roman practices in this matter, as we
noticed a few years ago in the famous trial at Viterbo.



A jealous solicitude for the rights of the average citizen is a marked
trait of the Roman character. A clear understanding of what the rights
of the common man were and an ingrained purpose to protect him in
the exercise of them determine the development of judicial procedure
in Rome, of law, and of political organizations. Perhaps the Romans
have bequeathed to us no greater heritage than their conception of
citizenship. With them it was not a mere dogma of political philosophy,
set forth in the writings of idealists or incorporated in general terms
in declarations of rights. It was made a reality in everyday life by
law, by tradition, and by political reforms. It finds expression in
the first written law which the Romans had, that of the Twelve Tables,
and five centuries later we hear an echo of it in the historic claim
of St. Paul. This ideal has been before us through the ages, and has
been an inspiration and a guide to every true leader of democracy. The
laws of the Twelve Tables, of which mention has just been made, set
down in written form and in great detail an orderly procedure, which
must be followed in a judicial action, and thus informed a citizen
of his rights, and laid an obligation on the state to see that they
were observed. The Valerio-Horatian law a little later gave a citizen
the privilege of appealing in a capital case to the popular assembly.
The establishment of the tribunate provided a democratic official
to safeguard him against the arbitrary action of a magistrate. The
dictatorship, the “final decree of the senate,” and the other devices
which the state used under the republic to suspend the rights of
citizens were either done away with or hemmed in by constitutional
safeguards. Cicero brings his terrible indictment of the governor of
Sicily to a fitting climax with the charge that Verres had caused
a Roman citizen to be put to death, and turning to the man at the
bar he cries: _si tu apud Persas aut in extrema India deprehensus,
Verres, ad supplicium ducerere, quid clamitares, nisi ~te civem
esse Romanum~_? It is true that there were many slaves in the Roman
world, and that many freemen within its limits did not enjoy the full
rights of Roman citizenship until late in the imperial period, but
these facts do not weaken the point in which we are interested here.
Wherever he went a citizen had behind him the sovereignty of the Roman
state. Any community which wronged him must make restitution, or it
would feel the heavy hand of Rome. This Roman principle that a state
may protect its citizens even in a foreign land has been accepted by
modern nations and is jealously observed by them. In fact international
relations are concerned in large measure with the protection by a
state of its citizens or subjects residing in foreign countries. Their
passports certify to their citizenship. They may appeal to their
minister or ambassador when they think themselves wronged, and may
look with confidence for the support of the army and navy of their
respective countries, when their lives, liberty, or property are


We have just been considering the fortunate position of the Roman
citizen in times of peace. When wars arose, he became the servant of
the state. Unlike the Carthaginians, the Romans did not during the
periods of the Great Wars, employ mercenaries. Service in the army was
compulsory on all citizens between seventeen and forty-six years of age
who had property of a certain amount. Those who avoided service were
liable to have their property confiscated, or to be sold as slaves, and
desertion was a capital offence. Discipline was strict, and punishments
were severe. But at the end of a campaign the soldier returned to
civil life. Before the close of the third century B.C., however, the
territory of Rome extended beyond the sea, and a soldier’s term of
service was correspondingly lengthened. This fact made the well-to-do,
who were already disinclined to service in the army, still more opposed
to it. This was the situation which led Marius to substitute voluntary
enlistment for conscription toward the end of the second century. The
new plan quickly filled the ranks of the army. The needy and the
adventurous found a soldier’s career attractive. They accepted it as
their life’s work. Their home was the camp. “_Esprit de corps_ took
the place of patriotism.” As I have remarked in my _Roman Political
Institutions_: “Henceforth the soldiers who came back to the city
after protracted campaigns did not look on their commander, as their
fathers had done, as a simple fellow-citizen, who had like themselves
been serving the state, and now resumed his place by their side. Long
periods of service abroad under the direction of one man had led them
to follow implicitly the guidance of an individual.” The veterans of
Marius, of Sulla, of Pompey, and of Caesar could be trusted to follow
at home the political leadership of the man under whom they had served
abroad. This situation threw the control of politics into the hands of
those who commanded the largest armies. What was still worse, the state
could no longer count on the fidelity of its soldiers. Their allegiance
had been transferred from Rome to their commander-in-chief, and the
security of the government itself might depend on his loyalty or his
lack of political ambition. From the beginning of the first century
before Christ to the end of the empire the sinister figure of the army
is ever in the background. It was a disturbing force in politics, as we
have just seen, by giving political offices and an undue influence to
military men without regard to their fitness for political leadership,
and by organizing forcible interference with public meetings of which
the veterans disapproved; and the claims which the soldiers made for
lands and bonuses often put the government in a difficult position.
Of some of these evils, of which we have been painfully aware in this
country after our various wars, we shall have occasion to speak in the
next chapter. Fortunately in our history the army has never threatened
the existence of a stable government or been used to overthrow it, as
it was used in Rome in the year 68-69 and almost constantly during the
third century of our era.


In the fields of taxation and public finance we have not much to
learn from the Romans, save by way of warning. Most of the revenue
of the state came from the provinces, and for several centuries was
collected by tax-farmers.[21] We are familiar enough in more recent
times with the exploitation of provinces, or colonies, as we call
them, by the state or the great trading company, because most modern
nations have followed Rome’s policy of making their colonies subserve
the interests of the mother country. In Sicily, the first overseas
territory which the Romans acquired, they took over the system of
taxation which they found in vogue there. That system rested on the
Oriental theory that the land belonged to the sovereign, and that those
who held the land paid rent for its use. This was the basis of taxation
in all the later provinces also. Next in importance to the tribute
were the customs duties. They brought in a large revenue, but were a
great impediment to trade. Rome held almost all the civilized world.
Consequently duties collected on the frontiers of the empire would not
have amounted to much. What the Romans did was to divide the empire
into tariff districts, and collect duties from those entering these
districts. Trade suffered in consequence, as it did in France before
the Revolution under similar conditions. The only other important tax
in this connection was the five per cent inheritance tax imposed
on property left to others than near relatives. It was instituted
by Augustus, was levied on Roman citizens, and met with violent
opposition. This system, taken in its entirety, relieved Italy from the
burden of taxation.

The grant of Roman citizenship to practically all freemen in the
provinces by Caracalla in 212 was therefore a severe blow to Italy,
because it raised the provinces to the level of the peninsula, and
paved the way for Diocletian to apply his fiscal reforms to the
whole Roman world.[22] His system of taxation was one of the most
complete and methodical that has ever been known. We can speak of
only a few of its salient features here. The population was divided
into three classes, the owners of land or other property, merchants,
and laborers. For the first class, the class most important for the
purpose of taxation, the fiscal unit was the _caput_ or _iugum_. The
_caput_ was the working power of a man in good health. A _iugum_ was
a piece of land from which a fixed return might be expected. The
number of _capita_ and _iuga_ was determined by a careful census at
fixed intervals, and each land owner paid according to the number of
laborers and _iuga_ on his estate. The tax paid by merchants depended
on the capital invested in their business. Laborers paid a poll tax.
The plan was well thought out, but the failure of the government to
reduce the valuation of property as the prosperity of the empire
declined, and its inability to reduce its own expenses made the taxes
an intolerable burden, and contributed largely to impoverish the people
and ruin local self-government. The Roman system of taxation, with some
modifications, continued in use after the dissolution of the Empire and
exerts an influence on our modern systems. Duties were still collected
on wares in transit at frontiers, at bridges and at other points on the
public highways. A quota of the produce was required from the owners of
land, and the property of those who died without leaving a will went
to the crown. It is clear that most of the Roman taxes, for instance,
customs duties, the inheritance tax, a tax on landed property, and a
poll tax, have been taken over by us, and find a place in our modern
systems of taxation.

The funds which came into the imperial treasury from the different
sources mentioned above were spent mainly on the government of the
provinces, on roads, bridges, and other public works, on religion, on
the army and navy, and on the city of Rome. It is impossible to find
out the size of these different items. It has been calculated that in
the early part of the first century the army cost 160,000,000 sesterces
a year, a sum which, with some hesitation, one may roughly estimate
had the purchasing value of $8,000,000. An imperial procurator in one
of the provinces received an annual salary which ranged from $3,000
to $15,000. The expense of provincial government was tremendously
increased from the second century on by the development of an
elaborate bureaucratic system. The outgo for the city of Rome included
expenditures for the construction and maintenance of public works, for
religious purposes, and to provide food and amusement for the populace.
We notice the absence from the list of charges of certain items like
appropriations for education and charity which form an important part
of a modern budget.

Under the republic the control of finances rested mainly with the
senate; under the empire it was divided between the emperor and the
senate. The republican system of financial administration would
seem to us very loose, and surprising in the case of so practical a
people as the Romans. Under it the senate appropriated money for a
period of five years to be used by the censors in the construction of
public works, and lump sums were voted for expenditure by the other
civil magistrates, and itemized accounts were not required of them.
As happened in so many other matters, with the empire a better system
of financial administration came in. The government collected most
of the taxes through its own agents. The supervision of receipts and
expenditures was more thorough, and we hear of something approaching
an itemized budget. The lion’s share of the revenues went into the
imperial fiscus. The funds at the emperor’s disposal were also
materially augmented by the development of crown property and of the
emperor’s private fortune. Many large private estates were confiscated
by the emperor, and many legacies were left to him. Indeed it was often
a hazardous thing for a rich man to pass over the emperor in his will.
The hereditary principle of succession was never formally recognized in
the Roman constitution, but it was practically followed from Augustus
to Nero, so that the interesting distinction which we make today
between crown property and the patrimony of the emperor was not adopted
before the year 69.

The minting of Roman money had the same history as the control of the
budget. The senate had charge of it under the republic. Under the
empire the emperor directed the gold and silver coinage; the senate
issued bronze coins. Two episodes in the history of Roman coinage are
of interest to the student of modern economic conditions. If Professor
Frank’s conclusions in a recent number of _Classical Philology_[23]
are correct, Rome had a real bimetallic standard from 340 to 150
B.C. This was maintained by changing from time to time the amount of
metal entering respectively into the silver and bronze coins of the
period in question. The Roman system did not, however, involve the
free and unlimited coinage of both metals, because the state limited
its issue of money to the estimated needs of the community. The other
incident occurs under the empire. It has its parallel in the unlimited
issue of paper money today by many European governments. The Roman
government was hard pressed to meet its obligations. It did so by
debasing the coinage. This process was carried so far that in the
third century it refused to receive its own silver coins in payment
of taxes. Constantine brought order out of this confusion, by making
the gold _solidus_ the standard. This coin became the parent of the
gold coinages both of the East and the West. It was accepted by the
barbarian states. From the time of Pepin it was struck in silver and
was current until 1793. The modern French word _sou_ is of course an
abbreviation of its name.


Of all Rome’s achievements in the field of politics none was so
far-reaching in its influence and so lasting in its effects as her
conquest of the world and her successful government of it for five
hundred years or more. With the story of her conquests we are not
concerned here. But, as President Butler of Columbia University has
said in his _Annual Report_ for 1921: “No educated citizen of a modern
free state can afford to ignore the lessons taught by the Roman Empire,
which for centuries held together in a commonwealth that was both
prosperous and contented peoples widely differing in religious faith,
in racial origin, and in vernacular speech.” How did she weld them
all, Britons, Gauls, Spaniards, and Africans, into one people whose
feeling of unity was so strong that even in the intervening centuries
it has not died out altogether? No national heroes will ever supplant
Trajan or Ovid in the hearts of the Roumanian people. When the Italians
invaded Tripoli a few years ago they thought of themselves as following
in the footsteps of their great ancestors, and a political cartoon
which had wide vogue in Italy at the time of the war and did much to
stimulate enthusiasm for it showed a shadowy Roman commander, perhaps
Scipio, landing in Africa at the head of an Italian army. How few
modern empires can hope to establish such traditions as these, so far
as peoples of alien races and religions are concerned! That the Romans
were more successful in developing a feeling of solidarity and loyalty
throughout their empire than modern nations have been, we have the
testimony from different points of view of such competent judges as
Lord Cromer and Boissier. In his _Ancient and Modern Imperialism_ Lord
Cromer says: “If we turn to the comparative results obtained by ancient
and modern imperialists; if we ask ourselves whether the Romans, with
their imperfect means of locomotion and communication, their relatively
low standard of public morality, and their ignorance of many economic
and political truths, which have now become axiomatic, succeeded as
well as any modern people in assimilating the nations which the prowess
of their arms had brought under their sway, the answer can not be
doubtful. They succeeded far better.” Elsewhere he remarks that “there
has been no thorough fusion, no real assimilation between the British
and their alien subjects, and, so far as we can now predict, the future
will in this respect be but a repetition of the past.”

Not only is this unparalleled achievement of the Romans worthy
of notice from the historical point of view, but the methods of
assimilation and government which gave them their success should be
peculiarly interesting and instructive to us in these days of fierce
national rivalry for the control of undeveloped lands and natural
resources. It is only fair to say that the Romans were more successful
among the semi-civilized peoples of the West than they were in the
Greek East. It is also true that most of the peoples within the
limits of the empire were of the white races, and that towards the
dark races the Romans do not seem to have shown the same repugnance
on the score of color which modern white peoples show. Furthermore,
the acceptance of polytheism in the ancient world facilitated the
amalgamation of two alien peoples, because each of them was tolerant
of the religion of the other and readily received the other’s deities
into its pantheon, whereas, as we know, the monotheistic creeds of
modern conquering peoples, like Christianity and Mohammedanism, stand
as a barrier between the conquerors and the conquered. In addition to
the concrete civilizing agencies which they employed, and which we
shall have occasion to notice in a moment, we may find the grounds of
their success in certain mental and political qualities and habits.
The Romans were not idealists. Consequently they did not try to foist
a new political and social system on a conquered people. Indeed they
were intellectually phlegmatic and drew back from the task of thinking
out a political system in its entirety. They lacked alertness of mind
and were not much interested in political philosophy. Their policy
at home and abroad was that of opportunism. When they acquired a new
territory, therefore, they were content to introduce a few general
arrangements and then allow the conquered people to go on living
their own life, retaining their old religion, customs, practices, and
local institutions. Besides adopting this wise policy of tolerance,
in the best period of provincial government the Romans followed sound
administrative principles. They established a graded civil service,
with reasonable hope of promotion for competent officials. In this
way they developed a corps of experienced administrators. They paid
adequate salaries to provincial governors and their subordinates,
and secured them reasonably well against removal on purely political
grounds. The home government kept a close supervision of provincial
officials, and courts were provided for the trial of charges brought
against them. So far as we know, these wise principles for the
government of dependencies were first put into application by the
Romans, and few, if any, of our modern empires are observing them with
the same care that certain Roman emperors did.[24]

Along with a good administrative system went protection of life and
property and the gradual extension of Roman law. The patience and
moderation of the Roman come out with special clearness in the last
matter. In spite of the supreme regard in which he held his own law,
the Roman allowed provincial cities of native origin to retain their
own local codes. Only colonies were required to adopt Roman law, but,
since the colony enjoyed special privileges, native communities were
often eager to gain the status of colonies, and with that status went
the willing acceptance of Roman law. The everyday life of the Spaniard
or the African under Roman rule went on as it had before. He carried on
his daily occupations as in the past. He worshipped his native gods,
and took part in his city’s traditional festivals and merrymakings. If
some one infringed on his rights, he brought action under the old-time
laws before magistrates of his own choosing. Some general changes,
however, which came with Roman rule materially improved his condition.
His taxes were usually less than they had been before the Romans
came. His life and property were safer. Trade developed, and he saw
his native town grow. This wise treatment tended in time to make the
natives of the West look on the Roman government with a friendly eye.

But the Romans used positive agencies in civilizing and Romanizing
newly conquered peoples. The most effective of these agencies were
the building of roads, the introduction of Latin, and the founding of
colonies. The success of modern imperialist states has been determined
in large measure by their wise or unwise use of these means of
developing a dependency and of binding it to the rest of the empire,
but we have much to learn in all three of these matters from Roman
methods. The first of the great Roman roads, the Appian Way, was built
in 312 B.C., near the close of the conquest of Central Italy. It ran
from Rome to Capua, and was soon extended to the port which today
bears the name of Brindisi. Before the close of the second century
B.C. four other great highways had been constructed connecting Rome
with Genoa, Reggio, Rimini and other points in Northern Italy. From
these trunk-lines, branch roads were then built to large towns not
situated on the main highway. This network of roads connected all the
important districts of Italy with one another and with Rome. Those who
have seen the remains of the Appian Way or of other Roman roads know
how well they were built. The policy which was adopted for Central
Italy, for Southern Italy, and for Northern Italy, as section after
section of the peninsula yielded to Roman arms, was carried into the
provinces. A map of Spain, for instance, at the close of the reign of
Augustus showing the system of roads laid out by his engineers proves
how thorough the Romans were in their plans for the pacification of
the country and the development of its resources. These roads in the
provinces, like the Trans-Siberian railway, were built first of all for
military purposes. They made it easy to send troops and supplies to all
parts of the empire. But they served a larger purpose in facilitating
trade, in bringing remote regions into closer communication with one
another and with Rome, and in developing a common way of living and of
thinking throughout the world. In other words they helped to make the
empire a unit. Even after the political bonds which held the Empire
together had been relaxed, the roads were left. They made trade and
travel possible. They furnished a ready means of communication between
different parts of the world, and exerted a powerful influence in
preserving for us the features of Roman civilization.[25]

One reason why the Romans surpassed modern imperialist states in their
use of this effective civilizing agency is the fact that they employed
their legionaries and auxiliaries in times of peace in the construction
of roads and other public works. The story of the Third Augustan Legion
in Africa, as Reid outlines it in his _Roman Municipalities_, is
illuminating.[26] This legion was stationed in Northern Africa for a
century and a half or two centuries, and from the numerous inscriptions
which the French have brought to light there we can see the beneficent
results of its labors throughout the province. In addition to the roads
which it built, and the chains of forts, which it constructed along
the frontier, there were at least five large towns which owed their
construction almost entirely to the soldiers of the Third Legion.
They developed the town of Theveste and constructed all the public
buildings in it. When the surrounding country became peaceful and
prosperous, the legion moved on to a new outpost, always enlarging the
sphere of Roman influence. This is the history of Timgad. At first it
was a military post, established to check raids by nomad tribes through
the mountains. The soldiers constructed temples, baths, and all the
other public buildings needed in a Roman city, and by 100 A.D. its
importance was recognized by its elevation to the proud position of a
Roman colony. In all parts of the Empire we find inscriptions recording
the building by the soldiers of roads, bridges, amphitheatres,
aqueducts, and harbors. Whether soldiers in modern times could be used
for such purposes is doubtful, but we can at least see in the use which
the Romans made of their soldiers one reason for their success as

In another way the soldiers played an important part in Romanizing
newly conquered territory. Near every important garrison _canabae_,
or settlements of merchants and camp-followers, sprang up. Many of
the auxiliaries married native women, who made their homes in these
villages. At the end of their term of service these foreign soldiers
were made Roman citizens. Their marriages with native women were
legalized, and they settled down in these communities on the frontier,
to introduce Roman ideas and Roman institutions in the surrounding
country. When we remember that there were probably 200,000 auxiliary
troops in the second century, we can readily understand what a great
influence their settlement in the provinces must have had. In this
connection it is convenient to speak of the “organizations of Roman
citizens,” or the _conventus civium Romanorum_, as they were called.
As soon as a new province had been acquired, Roman bankers, merchants,
ship-owners, and publicans went to it and settled in the important
cities. They quickly formed an organization of their own in the
community where they lived, because it was natural for Romans to form
a political or social organization, and because certain rights and
privileges which they had set them off from the rest of the community.
They made up the aristocracy of the towns where they lived, and many
natives must have been spurred on to accept Roman ideas and attain
Roman citizenship for the sake of being enrolled in the _conventus_.
The trade which these merchants carried on, and which a fine system of
roads made possible, had a levelling influence throughout the Empire.
Italy and Gaul sent their pottery and bronze utensils, Syria its silk
and linen, Egypt its cotton goods and ivory, and Arabia its gums and
spices to all the great centres of the world. The articles of everyday
use and many articles of luxury were, therefore, the same in all the
provinces, and must have had a great influence in making the daily life
of all the people under Roman rule uniform. Trade usually “followed the
flag,” but in some cases enterprising Roman merchants went in advance
of it. Trajan found them in the capital of Parthia when he took that
city, and there was an “organization of Roman citizens” in Alexandria
long before Rome established a protectorate over Egypt.

In his _Ancient and Modern Imperialism_ Lord Cromer remarks: “Modern
Imperialist nations have sought to use the spread of their language in
order to draw political sympathy to themselves. This has been notably
the case as regards the French in the basin of the Mediterranean,
and--though perhaps less designedly--as regards the English in India.
I do not think that either nation is likely to attain any great
measure of success in this direction. They will certainly be much
less successful than the Romans. Neither in French, British, nor, I
think I may add, Russian possessions is there the least probability
that the foreign will eventually supplant the vernacular languages.”
Elsewhere he says: “(My) conclusion is that the great proficiency
in some European language often acquired by individuals amongst the
subject races of the modern Imperialist Powers in no way tends to
inspire political sympathy with the people to whom that language is
their mother tongue.... Indeed, in some ways, it (i.e., language)
rather tends to disruption, inasmuch as it furnishes the subject races
with a very powerful arm against their alien rulers.” This frank
confession by a competent authority that the languages of the dominant
nations are not making much progress among the subject races, and that
proficiency in them tends often to alienate the conquered people from
their rulers, a fact which we have seen illustrated lately in the case
of the leaders of the revolutionary movements in India, brings into
striking relief not only the remarkable success which the Romans had
in making Latin the common language of the western world but also
the effective use which they made of it in unifying the Empire. In
two chapters of my book on _The Common People of Ancient Rome_ I have
tried to show what the nature of this language was and how it spread
through the Empire.[27] In Dacia, or modern Roumania, for instance, a
province beyond the Danube, which the Romans held for only one hundred
and seventy-five years, Latin was so firmly established that it has
persisted in its modern form to the present day. In his _Romanization
of Roman Britain_ Haverfield has shown for this remote province from a
study of the ephemeral inscriptions on bricks and tiles that “Latin was
employed freely in the towns of Britain, not only on serious occasions
or by the upper classes, but by servants and work-people for the most
accidental purposes.” The missionaries who carried it throughout the
ancient world were the soldier, the colonist, the trader, and the
official. It surprises one to find out, also, that all classes could
not only speak Latin, but could read and write it. Across the Empire
from Britain to Dacia it is the same story. On the tombstones of the
petty merchant and the freedman, as well as on the bronze tablets
which contain laws and decrees, the language is Latin, and essentially
the same Latin as one would hear in the city of Rome. It is clear that
modern Imperialist states have much to learn from the methods which
Rome employed so successfully in furthering the use of her language
by subject races. Lord Cromer regrets the fact that acquaintance
with the tongue of the ruling people often becomes in modern times a
weapon which is turned against that people. In the Roman provinces it
conferred distinction, opened the way to fuller rights and privileges
and made the possessor of it a stronger supporter of the Roman régime.

Nothing brings out better the great contrast between the individualism
of modern times and the solidarity of the Roman commonwealth than a
comparison of the methods followed now and two thousand years ago in
settling an undeveloped country.[28] Reports of the great resources of
Alaska come to Oregon and Colorado and New York. Men from all quarters
hurry there indiscriminately. On some promising location a village
grows up, almost over night. It has no magistrates, no common council.
Some of the more public-spirited citizens gradually band themselves
together to preserve order and dispense a rude justice. In time a
municipal government is organized. The Roman method of occupying a
new territory was far different from this. It consisted primarily in
the establishment of colonies in the new region. The most desirable
locations for strategic and commercial reasons were picked out, and a
law was passed in the popular assembly authorizing the establishment
of a colony, and providing for commissioners to found it. From three
hundred to several thousand colonists were then enrolled, and marched
out in military order to the chosen site. The commissioners assigned
the allotments, drew up a charter for the new community, and appointed
its first magistrates and the members of the local senate. This compact
and highly organized community of Romans served as a military outpost
and a centre for the extension of Roman civilization. The complete
pacification and Romanization of Italy was largely due to the influence
of these colonies. More than four hundred and forty such communities
were established in Italy and the provinces. Modern empires have much
to learn from this feature of Roman policy, and it would almost
seem as if we were beginning to appreciate its value. The State of
California has in late years adopted a system of colonization closely
resembling the Roman. It selects a site, appoints experts to subdivide
the land, chooses the colonists carefully, and sends the colony out
under a board of directors. Under a measure proposed by the United
States Secretary of the Interior, Secretary Lane, a year or two ago,
but not yet adopted by the Congress, similar settlements were to be
established on government land by the coöperation of the federal and
state governments. An interesting experiment along Roman lines, but
under private auspices, was made in July, 1921, when an organized band
of selected colonists set out from Brooklyn to found a settlement in
Idaho, with the coöperation of that state.[29] The advantages which the
Roman plan has over our ordinary method of settling a new region are
apparent at once.

A discussion of this feature of the policy which the Romans followed
in a newly acquired territory naturally leads us to speak of their
attitude toward native communities. Lord Cromer remarks that the Roman
provinces did not have self-government. It is true that Spain and Gaul
did not have their own legislatures and chief magistrates, but the real
administrative units with which Rome dealt in making her arrangements
were the city-states of Spain and Gaul, and they had a large measure
of self-government conferred on them by their charters. In a province
like Spain one finds communities in all the different stages of
advancement from the position of a dependent village to a free city or
a Roman colony, and one may well ask if the Roman system was not a more
practical one than ours. We treat Porto Rico, for instance, as a unit.
All the villages or cities in the island are put on the same legal
basis, no matter what the state of civilization of the different towns
may be. The Romans would have granted the full rights of citizenship to
one or two of them, and advanced the others from their more lowly state
as they became more civilized and prosperous. In this way they held
before native communities a prize which those communities were always
eager to attain, and from the first century of our era we find one town
after another advancing to a fuller enjoyment of civic rights. The
same policy was applied to individuals. Roman citizenship was often
granted to selected persons in a community. Such a grant identified the
interests of these provincial leaders with those of Rome, and enlisted
their support for the Roman régime.

The agencies which the Empire used so successfully in Romanizing the
provinces, that is to say the establishment of law and order, the
retention of local self-government, the liberal grants of citizenship
to qualified individuals and cities, the development of a good civil
service, the building of roads, the construction of public works, the
introduction of the Latin language and of Roman law, and the unifying
influence in the later period of the Church, engendered a feeling of
solidarity throughout the Western World, which was one of the most
valuable legacies handed down by the Romans to later times. Even
Claudian, the last important Roman poet, writing after the crushing
defeat of Valens by the barbarians at Adrianople, saw clearly that, in
spite of all the disasters which had overtaken Rome, the sense of unity
still persisted throughout the Western World. He writes in sorrow of
the goddess, Roma:

  “H_er voice is weak, and slow her steps; her
  D_eep sunk within; her cheeks are gone;
      her arms_
  A_re shrivelled up with wasting leanness_,”

but at another moment he cries triumphantly: “We who drink of
the Rhone and the Orontes are all one nation.” The feeling which
Claudian expresses persisted throughout the Middle Ages. The German
states in Italy recognized it by putting the portrait of the Eastern
Emperor on their coins. As Poole remarks in his _Illustrations of
the History of Mediaeval Thought_: “The Empire of Charlemagne was
no mere resuscitation of the extinct empire of the West. It was the
continuation of that universal empire, whose seat Constantine had
established at Byzantium, but whose existence there was now held to
have terminated by the succession of a woman, the empress Irene....
The empire, therefore, went back to its rightful seat, and its title
devolved on Charlemagne.” All the minor rulers also throughout the
civilized parts of Europe thought of their authority as coming to
them from the Roman Empire. This feeling of unity was kept up by
the use of the old Roman highways of commerce, by the employment of
the Latin language as the _lingua franca_ of Europe, by the Church,
and by the continued use of Roman law. Roman law in particular was
a stabilizing influence for many centuries after the dissolution of
the Empire. In the East and in the portions of Italy controlled by
Justinian’s successors the _Code_ of Justinian was in force. Roman law
entered largely also into the _Breviary_ of Alaric, the laws of the
Burgundians, the edict of Theodoric, and the French capitularies. The
law of Justinian was taught in the schools of Rome and Ravenna without
much interruption from the sixth to the eleventh century, and with the
revival of commerce which followed the Crusades, there was a vigorous
development of Roman mercantile law. After the tenth century “the trend
was toward unity within certain areas and the political separation
of these great areas from each other.” This drift toward nationalism
reached its climax at the time of the Reformation. The spirit of a
larger unity, which earlier centuries had taken over from the Roman
Empire, disappeared in great measure, but the longing for it and the
need of it and the knowledge that it once existed and may be called to
life again, find expression today in the organization of the League
of Nations. How disastrous has been its displacement by the present
intense nationalistic spirit is recognized on all sides. It would
almost seem as if Philip Kerr, who had served as Confidential Secretary
of Lloyd George at the Peace Conference in Paris, was thinking of
the irreparable loss which Europe has suffered in this respect, when
he said in his address at the Williamstown Conference in 1922: “What
is the fundamental cause of war? I do not say the only cause of war,
but the most active and constant cause. It is not race or religion or
color or nationality or despotism, or progress, or any of the causes
usually cited. It is the division of humanity into separate states. The
proposition which I am concerned to establish today is the division
of humanity into separate states, each owing loyalty to itself, each
recognizing no law higher than its own will, each looking at every
problem from its own point of view, which is the fundamental cause
of war.” Rome welded the particularism of the ancient Mediterranean
world into the unity of her Empire. Only by a similar recognition of
the solidarity of the interests of all civilized peoples can we hope to
emerge from the conditions which threaten us today.


The political and social problems which confronted Rome are those which
America, England, and France face today, and nothing brings out more
clearly the close relation which our civilization bears to hers than
the identity of these ancient and modern problems. In no respect may we
profit more by a study of her history than in contemplating the means
which Rome employed in solving them. Her successes may guide us, and
her failures warn us. Some of the difficulties which beset her have
come to the surface in discussing certain topics in the two preceding
chapters, and of the others we can speak briefly of only a few, and
mainly by way of illustration.


Two of our most serious social and political questions do not come
to the surface in Roman history, at least not in the form in which
they present themselves today. I mean the “color question” and the
labor question. Lord Cromer in the book to which reference has already
been made ventures the opinion that “antipathy based on differences
of colour is a plant of comparatively recent growth.” He connects
its development with the fact that in modern times the white man has
enslaved only the black man. Out of this relation the hostility of the
two races has developed, and has extended its scope so as to determine
in some measure the attitude of the white man toward the brown and
yellow man. The Roman had both white and black slaves. All foreigners
were on the same plane below himself. Consequently he did not have that
difficulty in dealing with the dark races which some modern nations

In the towns and villages of the Roman Empire we find inscriptions
attesting the existence of nearly five hundred different
trade-guilds.[30] Industry was carried to a high degree of
specialization. We find organizations of carpenters, joiners,
gold-smiths, silver-smiths, sandal-makers, bakers, skippers, actors,
gladiators, and of men in almost every conceivable occupation. Yet
we have no record of an industrial strike in Roman history,[30a]
nor of the intrusion of the labor question into politics. The Roman
trade-guilds do not seem to have tried to raise wages or to improve
working conditions, in spite of their great numbers and their large
membership. They were primarily benevolent and social societies. Most
of the laborers worked in their own homes or in small shops, and not in
large factories where common conditions develop class consciousness and
a sense of solidarity. Furthermore, the great majority of the manual
laborers were either slaves or freedmen, and joint action to improve
their condition would have been well nigh impossible.


Passing now to a discussion of some of the political and social
problems which the Romans and modern peoples _do_ have in common, we
may conveniently begin a comparative study of these questions by saying
a word about the way in which the Romans tried to suppress the evils
connected with canvassing for votes and conducting the elections. The
simplicity and strictness of the olden time is well illustrated by the
earliest corrupt-practices acts, which forbade candidates for public
office to whiten their togas or to go about among the farmers on market
days. Next we hear of an edict to prevent two candidates from combining
against a rival. Not until the second century B.C., when wealth from
the provinces began to pour into Rome, do we find laws against bribery
on the statute books. From this time on proof multiplies that fraud
and force were used at the elections. Between 67 and 52 B.C. no less
than six bills were brought in to suppress political corruption. The
two evils which were most prevalent were the formation of corrupt
political clubs and the excessive expenditure of money by candidates.
Aspirants for office spent enormous sums in giving gladiatorial games
and public banquets. We hear a great deal about political clubs in the
_Candidate’s Handbook_ which Quintus Cicero addressed to his brother
in 64 B.C., when Marcus was a candidate for the consulship. These
organizations were formed by ambitious politicians for the purpose
of controlling the elections by bribery or the use of force. They
broke up the political meetings held by candidates of the opposite
party, blocked up the entrances to the polling booths, gave out only
ballots of their own party, and openly canvassed for voters who could
be bribed. The Romans had even less success in combatting these evils
by means of legislation than we have had. Not until the elections had
been transferred from the people to the senate did they disappear.
The remedies which helped most in holding them in check were the
introduction of the secret ballot, the establishment of a special court
to hear cases of bribery, with the power to inflict severe penalties,
and the suppression of all political clubs. This last measure was very
helpful, but it was easier of adoption in Rome, where the right of
association was limited, than it would be today. Cicero’s contemporary,
Cato, made the interesting proposal that all newly chosen magistrates
should be required to appear in court and prove that they had been
elected by legitimate means, but this bill failed of passage.

Money was freely used by unscrupulous aspirants for office, but it is
not probable that capital played the important part in directing the
policy of the state which certain modern writers ascribe to it. The
suppression of piracy in the Eastern Mediterranean and the restoration
of order in Asia Minor by Pompey were undoubtedly brought about by the
influence of the bankers and tax-farmers, but two or three important
considerations make it reasonably certain that “big business” did
not have the political power in Rome which it has with us today.[31]
The amount of money invested in public contracts was comparatively
small. Even under the Republic only a small part of the revenue from
the provinces was collected by private Roman companies, and under
the Empire, as we have already noticed, the collection of taxes was
taken over more and more by the state. Finally, there do not seem to
have been many large financial corporations, and there is little, if
any, evidence to show that they combined to bring pressure to bear
on the government. In fact, Roman business and trade were largely


In the last century B.C. political and social conditions were ideal
for the development of the political boss, and in many respects they
resemble our own. In the first place, Rome, as is the case with many
of our large cities today, was filled with foreigners. We shall have
occasion later to discuss in greater detail the social and economic
effect of the presence in Italy and Rome of this foreign population.
For our present purpose it is sufficient to note that Professor Frank
in a recent number of the _American Historical Review_[32] has shown
that nearly 90 per cent. of the population permanently resident at Rome
in the Empire were of foreign extraction. Most of these foreigners
were of course slaves, but many were freedmen who had the right to
vote. They were ignorant of Roman political traditions. Many of them
made a precarious living, and their votes could probably be had for
money or through the influence of their patrons. Of such men the
guilds and political clubs of the late Republic were largely made up.
To them we must add the freemen who were driven out of the country
districts by the decline of agriculture, or who drifted to the city
because of the attractions which it could offer. These classes of
people naturally fell under the leadership of political bosses. It
happened too that several of the political bosses of this period had
been or were still in command of large armies. Veterans who had served
under these commanders and had settled in Italy naturally accepted
the political leadership of their former officers. We are familiar in
this country with the great influence exerted at the end of several of
our wars by compact organizations of ex-service men. Furthermore, in
Rome there were no permanent party organizations. Voters followed a
leader, rather than a political principle. All these facts contributed
to strengthen the hands of the boss, and the political history of
the last half century of the Republic centres about the activity of
such men as Marius, Crassus, Caesar, Milo, and Clodius. Indeed the
First Triumvirate, which controlled Rome for ten years, had no legal
basis. It rested upon a personal agreement between Caesar, Pompey, and
Crassus for the division of the political spoils. In a certain degree
Augustus continued this tradition, for his power rested largely upon
the fact that the candidates for office favored by him were certain
to be elected and would do his bidding after the election, and thus
the measures supported by him were sure to be adopted. The Roman boss
differed from most political bosses of today in his willingness to take
office and assume the responsibility which the holding of an office

The political boss is of course abhorrent to an oligarchical system.
It is a fundamental principle of an aristocracy that no individual
should attain undue prominence above others of his class, and perhaps
no governing body has devised so many safeguards against Caesarism,
and entrenched itself so firmly behind tradition, as the Roman senate
did. Every aspirant for an important magistracy must have reached
a specified age and must have held all the lower offices. These
provisions prevented a successful politician from being carried into
the consulship on a sudden wave of popular favor, and a consul’s term
of office was so short that he had little opportunity to make his
political position secure. Over against him stood the senate with its
_esprit de corps_, and its power to control appointments and to ratify
or reject treaties, which, as we noticed in the last chapter, enabled
it to determine in large measure his domestic and foreign policy. The
Roman Senate protected itself for many decades against the political
aspirations of successful generals by granting them or withholding
from them a sufficient army, by voting them generous or niggardly
appropriations, by requiring them to submit all their acts to it for
ratification, and by conceding to them or refusing them a triumph or a
“thanksgiving” on their return to Rome. Its power was only broken in
the last century of the Republic when certain democratic magistrates
made an appeal directly to the popular assembly. To this move on the
part of the Executive we have had an analogue on several occasions
when the Chief Executive of the United States or of a state has made
a popular appeal to the voters in his struggle with a legislative


One of the political problems with which we have been much concerned
in late years has to do with the possibility of removing an elected
official from office. We proceed to the accomplishment of that purpose
in two ways, by the traditional method of impeachment or by the new
device of the recall. They differ in the fact that the former is a
judicial procedure, whereas a recall is brought about by the direct
action of the voters. The Romans were a practical people and did not
like to interfere with the orderly transaction of public business by
removing an executive from office. Consequently we have no record of
any attempt being made to remove a civil magistrate from office until
we come to the stormy period of the second century before our era. In
169 B.C. one of the censors of that year was impeached and tried before
the popular assembly, and in 133 B.C. the tribune Tiberius Gracchus
secured the recall of his colleague Octavius by a popular vote. Both
cases illustrate the application of the Roman doctrine of popular
sovereignty in its extreme form. Neither method of procedure, however,
found favor in later years. In fact the Romans did not have so much
need of either process as we have today, because the tribune could veto
an arbitrary or unscrupulous act of a magistrate.


One of the important political and economic questions which countries
have to settle in modern times at the close of a war is that of
reinstating soldiers in civil pursuits and of granting them some
material compensation for their services. After the Civil War in this
country the question was solved by throwing open lands in the Middle
West to settlement and by appropriating money liberally for pensions.
At the moment of writing the needs of the soldier returning to civil
life from the late war with the Central European powers have been
met in part by a system of insurance, by the payment of a small sum
on discharge, and by making provision for the disabled. It has been
further proposed to compensate men honorably discharged from service
by giving them either cash payments or homestead allotments. All of
these plans were tried by the Romans. Down to the close of the second
century before our era only the well-to-do were enrolled in the
legions. Marius for the first time opened the ranks to the proletariat.
When the term of service of his soldiers came to an end he had to
make suitable provision for them. He did so by founding a colony and
granting them allotments in it. This precedent was followed by Sulla,
Pompey, and Caesar, and between 59 and 31 B.C. twenty-five or thirty
colonies of veterans were thus established. Under the Empire a soldier
received also a fixed sum of money on his discharge. The benefit
societies which the Roman government encouraged among the soldiers
served somewhat the same purpose as our system of war-insurance. The
bonus system was adopted, in a formal way, for the first time by
Augustus in 7 B.C., instead of the customary assignments of land. At
that time he gave gratuities to his discharged soldiers amounting to
400,000,000 sesterces, as he tells us in his biography.[34] Although
this is perhaps the earliest instance of the systematic award of a
large cash payment, occasional grants of this sort occurred much
earlier, because the bonus had its beginning in the division of the
spoils of war among the soldiers, and was given at the time of the
triumph. When the practice of granting a bonus had once been formally
established, the occasions on which it was given were multiplied
for political reasons. To win popularity with the army, Tiberius,
on his accession, made a grant of money to every soldier, and his
example was followed by Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and most of their
successors. In the later empire, when the support of the army became
all-important to an emperor, bonuses increased in size; they were
given on many anniversaries, and imposed a very heavy burden on the
imperial treasury. In the fourth century the Emperor Julian, who was
far from warlike, on mounting the throne, gave to every Roman soldier
a bonus whose nominal value was equal to about thirty-two dollars.
Since there were probably 400,000 soldiers in the army, this action
cost the government $12,800,000 or nearly $50,000,000 if we roughly
estimate that gold and silver would purchase four times as much then
as they do now. The militaristic spirit of Rome has descended to us
and makes its influence felt today. The campaigns and the conquests of
great Roman commanders have been studied with minute care by generals
and statesmen in modern times. Elaborate studies, for instance, have
been made of Caesar’s campaigns by Napoleon III, by Col. Stoffel
of his staff, and in General von Göler’s great work dedicated to
Marshall von Moltke with the noteworthy phrase: “Feldherr und Sieger
auf gallischem Boden.” Elsewhere, in a paper on the trend of classical
history, I noted the fact that the study of Roman military history had
been engaging the attention of an unusually large number of scholars
in the years immediately preceding the war with the states of Central
Europe. It was also a significant thing that many of these writers in
their appraisal of the men and the events of ancient times tacitly held
to the principle that in the ultimate analysis the course of history
was determined by the use of naked force, and that the progress of the
world was furthered by the conquest of the small nation by the great


In one of the preceding chapters we have tried to show how the
Romans in the second century before our era attempted to check the
decline of morals and the growth of extravagance by giving the censor
extraordinary discretionary power over the daily life of the citizens.
It may be interesting in this connection to say a word of three or
four other cases of paternalism, in which the state interfered in
private life or business in the hope of correcting some widespread
evil or social disorder. All of these social evils which Rome tried
to remedy have their analogues in our own times. The most outstanding
of these problems was unemployment and lack of food in the large
cities. This was the problem which Gaius Gracchus tried to solve by
his corn law in 123 B.C. Our best estimates put the population of
Rome at 800,000 in the early Empire.[35] Perhaps it numbered a half
million in the time of the Gracchi. Italy, after supplying her own
needs, was unable to provide all these people with sufficient food, or
with food at prices within the reach of the poor. In times of great
scarcity previous governments had tried to meet the difficulty by
bringing grain to Rome from Sicily and Sardinia. The motives which
actuated them were not primarily humanitarian. But a hungry proletariat
would have threatened the existence of society and government. Gaius
Gracchus tried to do in a systematic way what some of his predecessors
had attempted in an irregular fashion. He organized the purchase and
transportation of grain from the provinces and provided for its sale
at about half the market price. He may have thought of this measure
as a temporary palliative to meet an emergency. He may have hoped
later to do away with unemployment, by developing the industries of
Rome and settling the needy in colonies. He may have expected to
stimulate agriculture in Italy and in that way to bring down the price
of food. But the immediate result was the recognition by the state of
its duty to provide food for the city, and to adjust the price of the
necessities of life to the purse of the consumer. Within seventy-five
years after the tribunate of Gracchus we hear of four or five new
corn laws, each one increasing the amount of grain supplied by the
government or lowering its price. The democratic leader, Clodius, in
58 B.C. even supplied grain free to the needy. Suetonius tells us
that Caesar introduced a partial reform by cutting down the number of
people who received cheap or free grain from 320,000 to 150,000. This
essay in the fixing of prices by the government which Gracchus made
in 123 B.C. was carried to its logical conclusion by Diocletian in
his famous edict in 301 A.D. In another place the present writer has
made a study of this decree, which was found in Asia Minor some two
centuries ago engraved on tablets.[36] It is sufficient to note here
that in this document the Emperor fixed the maximum prices which it was
lawful to charge for seven hundred or eight hundred different articles
comprising food, clothing, shoes, and labor of all kinds. The penalty
for selling an article at a higher price than that specified in the law
was death. The attempt to enforce the law led to riot and disorder and
its ultimate repeal.

It will be noticed that in his edict Diocletian tried to fix wages,
not minimum, but maximum wages. The later empire was much concerned
with the labor-question. It believed that the prosperity of the people
required a proper diversification of industry, that each community
should have a sufficient number of carpenters, weavers, and farmers,
for instance. This end could be attained most easily by making an
occupation hereditary in a family. When this point had been reached
the caste system was fixed on Roman society. This final result may
be seen in the _Theodosian Code_ of the fifth century, but we cannot
follow all the steps by which it was reached. Apparently the state
accomplished its purpose by means of the trade-guilds. Hundreds of
inscriptions testify to the existence of these organizations in various
parts of the Empire. Just as the central government made the _curia_,
or local senate, responsible for the taxes of the municipality which
it represented, so it held the guilds of carpenters or of weavers
responsible for the services which they were qualified to render to
the community. This obligation was first laid on the guilds of the
skippers and bakers. If they allowed their trades to languish, Rome,
Alexandria, and Constantinople would starve. Their occupations were the
“basic industries” of antiquity. The man who was a baker or a seaman
was therefore obliged to continue as a baker or seaman his life long,
and his children were obliged to follow his footsteps. Gradually other
trades were swept into the government’s net, until freedom in industry
and commerce had disappeared.

Even before the state had brought the laborer under its control, it
had acquired the ownership of a great part of the natural resources of
the Empire. The Emperor owned gold mines in Dalmatia and Dacia, silver
mines in Pannonia, iron mines in Noricum, tin mines in Britain, and
marble quarries, forests, clay-pits, and salt-works in other provinces.
Egypt was from the outset the personal domain of the Emperor, and by
confiscation or legacy he gradually acquired immense estates in most
of the richer provinces. Most of the mines and the imperial estates
were in charge of a procurator, and were let out at a fixed rental to
contractors. The work on the estates was done by tenants. Whether state
ownership promoted productivity or not we can not say with certainty,
but the complaints which we find in the _Theodosian Code_[37] of the
exorbitant prices charged for the products of the mines and quarries
would seem to show that they were inefficiently managed under the later
empire. The outcome, so far as the workers in the mines and the tenants
on the estates are concerned, is clear enough. Titles are found in the
_Theodosian Code_,[38] requiring those who live near the mines and
their children to work in the mines. The condition of the tenants on
imperial estates had fallen to a low point as early as the latter part
of the second century, as we can see from the pathetic petition which
the people on an imperial estate in Africa addressed to Commodus. In
time the tenants on these estates found it impossible to give up their
leases, or were forbidden to do so, and became serfs.

In this field of paternalism of which we have been speaking another
important issue of modern times has its counterpart in the history
of Roman politics. I mean the attitude of the central government
toward the municipalities within its territory. Within recent years
this question has taken an acute form in the states of New York,
Pennsylvania, and Illinois. To what extent may the legislature or the
governor interfere to correct local evils in the city of New York, in
Pittsburgh, or in Chicago? The Romans under the Republic were not much
concerned with the welfare of the cities under their control. With the
establishment of the Empire a change in their attitude is noticeable.
The improvement in the general administration of the provinces
naturally brought into relief certain evils in the local governments
of provincial cities, especially financial mismanagement. The letters
which Pliny, the governor of Bithynia, wrote to Trajan in the early
part of the second century are very illuminating in this respect.
He asks his imperial master what shall be done at Nicaea, where
10,000,000 sesterces have been spent on an unfinished theatre whose
walls have already begun to crack.[39] May he inspect the accounts of
the city of Apamea? Is it proper for him to check the extravagance
shown at civic festivals? Out of these comparatively small beginnings
there developed the imperial policy of supervising the finances of the
municipalities of the Empire, and curators were sent out to them, who
took entire charge of all the land and other property belonging to a
city, and were responsible not to the citizens of the town, but to the
governor of the province. The exercise by the curator of these large
powers encroached on the authority of the local officials, lessened
the feeling of civic responsibility among the people, and in the end
completely undermined local self-government. If we make a possible
exception of the censorship of morals in the second century before
our era, all the experiments in paternalism which the Romans made
failed:--the fixing of prices, the control of the labor market, state
ownership, and the supervision of local government.


The drifting of large numbers of people into the great cities was one
of the baffling problems of antiquity, as it is today. It meant the
withdrawal of farmers and farm-laborers needed on the land. It led to
unemployment in the cities. It brought so many people into the cities
that it was difficult to supply them with sufficient food. It made the
cities in times of economic distress or political excitement dangerous
centres of disorder. To discuss here all the reasons why Rome and
certain other cities grew to their unwieldy size would take us too far
afield. We may mention, however, one or two of the influences at work.
Many of the native farm laborers had been killed in the long wars. Many
of the farmers had suffered the same fate, and their farms had passed
into the hands of large landowners and were cultivated by slaves. The
remaining peasant proprietors could not compete with the ranch owners,
and the free laborers could not hold their own against the slaves.
People from both these classes went into the provinces or moved to
the city in the early period, while under the late republic and the
empire the size of the city was augmented by a great influx of slaves,
who found it a comparatively easy matter to purchase their freedom or
to obtain it in the wills of their masters. To feed these people and
keep them reasonably contented the government gave them food free or at
a low price and provided them with baths, theatres, and gladiatorial
contests. This attempt to relieve the situation only aggravated the
evil. The attractions which the government added to city life by its
action kept former residents in Rome and drew others to the city.

Closely related to this question of the alarming growth of the larger
cities was the displacement of the native stock in Rome and Italy by
people from abroad. We have already noticed that nearly ninety per
cent. of the permanent residents of Rome under the Empire were of
foreign extraction. Rome was therefore facing the same situation which
disturbs us. It is true that most of the foreigners living in Italy
were slaves or the descendants of slaves, as is the case with the
negroes in this country. It was an instance of forced rather than of
voluntary immigration, but the resultant change in the character of
the population is the same in both cases. Not only was the city of Rome
dominated by foreigners, but at Beneventum, and Milan, and throughout
the country districts of Italy the same condition prevailed. In still
another respect the change in the character of the population of Italy
reminds us of a corresponding change in our own population. Fifty years
ago most of our immigrants came from western Europe. That tide of
immigration has decreased and we regard with some alarm the arrival at
our ports now of large numbers of people from eastern and southeastern
Europe. They come from countries whose languages, and political and
social ideas are very different from ours. They do not readily accept
our traditions and institutions. This was exactly the situation in
Italy under the Empire. By very interesting studies which Professor
Frank[40] and others have made of the names found on tombstones and
in the records of trade-guilds it appears that “the whole of Italy
as well as the Romanized portions of Gaul and Spain were during the
Empire dominated in blood by the East.” The result was disastrous to
Roman traditions and to Roman political life. In Professor Frank’s
opinion, the fact that, even as early as the time of the Gracchi,
“reform through orderly compromise gave way to revolution through
bloodshed is largely due to the displacement of real Italic peoples by
men of Oriental, Punic and Iberian stock.” At all events the presence
of this large Oriental element in the population of the West helps us
to understand the comparative willingness with which Rome accepted the
principate in place of the republic. It helps us to understand the
development of autocracy, the gradual adoption of Oriental titles and
ceremonial at court, and the partial acceptance by the people of the
Oriental theory of the Emperor’s power.


“The history of all institutions has a deep value and an abiding
interest to all those who have the courage to work upon it. It
presents in every branch a regularly developed series of causes and
consequences, and abounds in examples of that continuity of life, the
realization of which is necessary to give the reader a personal hold
on the past and a right judgment of the present. For the roots of the
present lie deep in the past; and nothing in the past is dead to the
man who would learn how the present comes to be what it is.” So Stubbs
wrote on finishing his history of the _English Constitution_ and on
sending it out to the public. What he has said when thinking of the
beginnings of constitutional government in England is true in a higher
degree of the relations of modern political institutions to those of
Rome. This is the case partly because we owe to Rome so much of our
political philosophy and so much of our political system. It is true
partly because our indebtedness to Rome in the field of politics has
not been appreciated, and consequently we have failed to understand
the origin and nature of many of our institutions. The failure to
recognize the great debt which we owe to her was a natural oversight.
The great gulf of the Middle Ages lies between Roman times and our
own day. Until the trend of political thought and the development of
society during that period came to be better understood, the close
relation which medieval political theory and practice bore to that of
the Romans and our dependence on the medieval were not seen. Until
very recently students of modern political institutions rarely carried
their investigations beyond the limits of their respective countries,
or at the most they did not go back beyond the Renaissance. But as the
Carlyles have said in their _History of Mediaeval Political Theory_:
“From the lawyers of the second century to the theorists of the French
Revolution, the history of political thought is continuous, changing
in form, modified in content, but still the same in its fundamental
conceptions.” Many writers on political science in ignorance or
in disregard of this continuity tell us, for instance, that the
representative principle was unknown in antiquity, or that the jury
system was of English or Scandinavian origin. But fortunately a
few scholars, like Bryce, who have an acquaintance with classical
institutions, are gradually correcting these errors and helping us
to see the way in which many of our modern political theories and
institutions have come to us from Rome.

Our political indebtedness to the Romans takes two different forms. We
have inherited many theories and institutions from them, and in the
second place we have before us for our guidance their experience in
dealing with difficult practical problems. As we have noticed in the
preceding chapters, they have taught us to study actual governmental
systems rather than to attempt the construction of Utopias. We owe
to them the fruitful suggestion that the state may be compared to an
organism. The conception of the brotherhood of man goes back to the
early Empire, and out of this conception international law, and its
counterpart, civil law, have developed. Roman writers recognized the
three forms of government, monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, and
pointed out the importance of dividing the functions of government
between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. From them
we have derived our accepted doctrine of popular sovereignty, and to
them the theory of the divine right of kings may be traced. The Romans
developed the distinction which is so vital in English common law
between statutes and customs, officially recognized, and showed the
great advantages inherent in a flexible constitution which is made up
of these two elements. They have handed down to us the representative
principle, the jury method of trial, civil law, a clear conception of
the rights of a citizen, a jealous regard for law and tradition, a
comprehensive system of political checks and balances, model systems
of local government and civil service, and methods of governing,
civilizing, and unifying alien peoples which have never been equalled.

It was this final contribution that Rome made to civilization of which
Mommsen was thinking, toward the end of his long study of Roman history
and institutions, when he wrote: “If an angel of the Lord were to
strike the balance whether the domain ruled by Severus Antoninus was
governed with the greater intelligence and the greater humanity at
that time or in the present day, whether civilization and national
prosperity generally have since that time advanced or retrograded, it
is very doubtful whether the decision would prove to be in favor of the



[1] The arrangements which Rome made with the several cities of Sicily
are outlined by Cicero in his oration _In Verrem_, III. 12-14.

[2] The traditional story of the Decemvirate and its codification of
the _Laws of the Twelve Tables_ is told graphically by Livy, III.
32-54. Some of the extant fragments of these laws may be seen in F. D.
Allen’s _Remnants of Early Latin_, Boston, 1899, pp. 84-92.

[3] On the activities of the censors, cf. Heitland, _The Roman
Republic_, _passim_.

[4] On the government of the provinces under the Republic one may read
Arnold-Shuckburgh, C. III.

[5] There is an interesting discussion of the motives and policy of C.
Gracchus by W. W. Fowler in his _Roman Essays and Interpretations_,
Oxford, 1920, pp. 99-110.

[6] A brilliant analysis of the political policies of Pompey and Caesar
may be found in E. Meyer’s _Caesars Monarchie und das Principat des
Pompejus_, Stuttgart, 1919.

[7] On the legal basis of the principate of Augustus, see Abbott,
_Roman Political Institutions_, pp. 267-273.

[8] For the provinces under Augustus, see Arnold-Shuckburgh, chapter
IV. For a list of them, cf. Sandys, pp. 401 ff.

[9] Five municipal charters are given in an English translation by E.
G. Hardy in his _Six Roman Laws and Three Spanish Charters_, Oxford,

[10] The famous edict of Caracalla, to which reference is made in the
_Code_ of Justinian and elsewhere, may now be seen in no. 40 of the
_Griechische Papyri im Museum des Oberhessischen Geschichtsverein zu
Giessen_, E. Kornemann and P. M. Meyer, Leipzig, 1910.

[11] For the bureaux of Hadrian and his successors, see Hirschfeld.

[12] The most convenient edition of the _Code_ of Justinian is to
be found in the _Corpus Iuris Civilis_, 3 vols., ed. by Mommsen and
others. Berlin, 1895.

[13] The Latin text of the constitution of Vespasian may be found in K.
E. Bruns, _Fontes Iuris Romani Antiqui_, Leipzig, 1893,^7 no. 56.

[14] Cf. F. F. Abbott, on “The Referendum and the Recall Among the
Ancient Romans,” in _The Sewanee Review_, XXIII. 84-94 (1915).

[15] For Professor Frank’s discussion of these wars, see chapters V,
VI, and XIII. Cf., also, Livy, XXI. 4. 1.

[16] For the comparison of the Roman Senate and the Senate of the U. S.
see the chapter on “The Story of Two Oligarchies.”

[17] For a fuller discussion of representative government among the
Romans under the Republic, see Frank’s _Roman Imperialism_, pp. 45,
209, 299, 301.

[18] The oath of the Fascisti may be found in the _London Times_
of Jan. 2, 1923. The best literature at present on the movement is
_Discorsi Politici_, Benito Mussolini (Milan; _Essercizio Tipografico
del “Popolo d’Italia,”_ 1922). _Il Fascismo nella Vita Italiana_,
Pietro Gorgolini. Preface by B. Mussolini (Turin; Anonima Libraria
Italiana). _Fascismo Liberatore_, Cipriano Giachetti (Florence;

[19] For the praetor’s court see Abbott, _Roman Political
Institutions_, pp. 105 ff.

[20] A striking illustration of the looseness of procedure in Roman
courts is given by Cicero in a letter to Atticus (_ad Atticum_, I. 16.
3-6), translated by E. O. Winstedt, _Letters to Atticus_, 3 vols., New
York, 1919, in _The Loeb Classical Library_. On the course of a trial
in a Roman court, cf. A. H. J. Greenidge, _The Legal Procedure of
Cicero’s Time_, Oxford, 1901, pp. 456-504.

[21] On taxation in the provinces, see Arnold-Shuckburgh, chapter VI.
On the customs duties, see R. L. V. Cagnat, _Étude Historique sur les
Impôts Indirects chez les Romains_, Paris, 1882.

[22] On Diocletian’s tax system, see Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll, III. 1513
ff.; Daremberg-Saglio, V. 434 ff.

[23] “Rome’s First Coinage,” in _Classical Philology_, XIV. 314-327

[24] On life in the provinces see Bouchier’s books cited in the

[25] The road-systems in the provinces may be seen in Murray’s _Small
Classical Atlas_, or in H. S. Jones’ _Companion to Roman History_,
Oxford, 1912, map 4.

[26] See Reid, pp. 279 ff.

[27] See Chapters I and II in the _Common People of Ancient Rome_.

[28] A detailed account of the method of founding Colonies and a list
of them may be found in Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll, IV. 510 ff.

[29] For an account of the Idaho Colony, see Albert Shaw, “From New
York to Idaho,” in _The American Review of Reviews_, LXIV. 177-182

[30] See the chapter on trade-guilds and corporations in Abbott’s
_Common People of Ancient Rome_.

[30a] This statement does not apply to Asia Minor where we do know
of industrial strikes in Roman times at Ephesus, Pergamum, Miletus,
and Sardis. That of the bakers at Ephesus (Kern, _Die Inschriften von
Magnesia_, no. 114, an inscription which we now know is from Ephesus)
took place in the second century A.D. The other strikes are those
of builders, one in the second century A.D. at Miletus on the Roman
theatre (_Sitz. Berl. Ak._ 1904, p. 83); for Pergamum, cf. _Athen.
Mitt._ XXIV, 1899, p. 199 (also second cent.); for Sardis _C.I.G._
3647. An article by W. H. Buckler on _Labor Disputes in the Province of
Asia_ which will soon appear in _Anatolian Studies in Honor of Sir W.
M. Ramsay_, Manchester, 1923, discusses this question. [D. M. R.]

[31] On the failure of “big business” to determine the policy of the
Roman state, see Frank’s _Roman Imperialism_. For a different view, cf.

[32] “Race Mixture In The Roman Empire,” in _The American Historical
Review_, XXI. 689-708 (1916).

[33] Among the executives who have appealed directly to the voters may
be mentioned Governor Hughes of New York State and Presidents Roosevelt
and Wilson.

[34] Augustus mentions his gratuities to soldiers in chapter 17 of
his _Res Gestae Divi Augusti_; translated into English, _The Deeds of
Augustus_, by W. Fairley, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,

[35] On methods of calculating the population of the city of Rome,
see J. Beloch’s _Bevölkerung der griechisch-römischen Welt_, Leipzig,
1886, chapter IX. sec. 2 and “Die Bevölkerung Italiens im Altertum,” in
_Klio_, III. 471-490 (1903).

[36] On Diocletian’s edict see the chapter on “Diocletian’s Edict and
the High Cost of Living” in Abbott’s _Common People of Ancient Rome_.

[37] See the _Theodosian Code_, (_Theodosiani Libri XVI_ ed. Th.
Mommsen, Berlin, 1905), 10, 19, 1. 2. 8.

[38] On compulsion to work in the mines, see the _Theodosian Code_, 10,
19, 5. 6. 7. and 15.

[39] For Pliny’s inquiries see the _Epistulae ad Traianum_, 39; cf. 31
on work in the mines.

[40] For the influx into Italy and the West of men of Oriental
extraction see T. Frank, in _The American Historical Review_, XXI.
689-708 (1916) and Frank’s _Economic History of Rome_, pp. 154 ff. _et



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Our Debt to Greece and Rome


 1. HOMER. John A. Scott, _Northwestern University_.

 2. SAPPHO. David M. Robinson, _The Johns Hopkins University_.

 3A. EURIPIDES. F. L. Lucas, _King’s College, Cambridge_.

 3B. AESCHYLUS AND SOPHOCLES. J. T. Sheppard, _King’s College,

 4. ARISTOPHANES. Louis E. Lord, _Oberlin College_.

 5. DEMOSTHENES. Charles D. Adams, _Dartmouth College_.

 6. ARISTOTLE’S POETICS. Lane Cooper, _Cornell University_.

 7. GREEK HISTORIANS. Alfred E. Zimmern, _University of Wales_.

 8. LUCIAN. Francis G. Allinson, _Brown University_.

 9 PLAUTUS AND TERENCE. Charles Knapp, _Barnard College_, _Columbia

 10A. CICERO. John C. Rolfe, _University of Pennsylvania_.

 10B. CICERO AS PHILOSOPHER. Nelson G. McCrea, _Columbia University_.

 11. CATULLUS. Karl P. Harrington, _Wesleyan University_.

 12. LUCRETIUS AND EPICUREANISM. George Depue Hadzsits, _University of

 13. OVID. Edward K. Rand, _Harvard University_.

 14. HORACE. Grant Showerman, _University of Wisconsin_.

 15. VIRGIL. John William Mackail, _Balliol College, Oxford_.

 16. SENECA. Richard Mott Gummere, _The William Penn Charter School_.

 17. ROMAN HISTORIANS. G. Ferrero, _Florence_.

 18. MARTIAL. Paul Nixon, _Bowdoin College_.

 19. PLATONISM. Alfred Edward Taylor, _St. Andrew’s University_.

 20. ARISTOTELIANISM. John L. Stocks, _St. John’s College, Oxford_.

 21. STOICISM. Robert Mark Wenley, _University of Michigan_.

 22. LANGUAGE AND PHILOLOGY. Roland G. Kent, _University of


 24. GREEK RELIGION. Walter W. Hyde, _University of Pennsylvania_.

 25. ROMAN RELIGION. Gordon J. Laing, _McGill University_.

 26. MYTHOLOGIES. Jane Ellen Harrison, _Newnham College, Cambridge_.

 _Harvard University_.

 28. STAGE ANTIQUITIES. James T. Allen, _University of California_.

 29. GREEK POLITICS. Ernest Barker, _King’s College, University of

 30. ROMAN POLITICS. Frank Frost Abbott, _Princeton University_.

 31. ROMAN LAW. Roscoe Pound, _Harvard Law School_.

 32. ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY. M. T. Rostovtzeff, _University of

 33. WARFARE BY LAND AND SEA. E. S. McCartney, _University of Michigan_.

 34. THE GREEK FATHERS. Roy J. Deferrari, _The Catholic University of

 35. BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE. Henry Osborn Taylor, _New York_.

 36. MATHEMATICS. David Eugene Smith, _Teachers’ College, Columbia

 37. LOVE OF NATURE. H. R. Fairclough, _Leland Stanford Junior

 38. ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY. Franz Cumont, _Brussels_.

 39. THE FINE ARTS. Arthur Fairbanks, _Museum of Fine Arts, Boston_.

 40. ARCHITECTURE. Alfred M. Brooks, _Swarthmore College_.

 41. ENGINEERING. Alexander P. Gest, _Philadelphia_.

 42. GREEK PRIVATE LIFE, ITS SURVIVALS. Charles Burton Gulick, _Harvard

 43. ROMAN PRIVATE LIFE, ITS SURVIVALS. Walton B. McDaniel, _University
 of Pennsylvania_.

 44. FOLK LORE. Campbell Bonner, _University of Michigan_.


 46. CHRISTIAN LATIN WRITERS. Andrew F. West, _Princeton University_.

 _University of Chicago_.


 49. MUSIC.

 50. ANCIENT AND MODERN ROME. Rodolfo Lanciani, _Rome_.

Transcriber’s Notes

Page 19: “the nobilty” changed to “the nobility”

Page 56: “is dissatified” changed to “is dissatisfied”

Page 57: “similiar contempt” changed to “similar contempt”

Page 74: “Branches of Goverment” changed to “Branches of Government”

Page 147: “niggardly apropriations” changed to “niggardly

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