Page images
PDF
EPUB

the testimonies differed. (243) According to Dionysius, L. Junius Brutus and C. Sicinius were first elected, and afterwards two Licinii and C. Icilius Ruga.(-41) L. Junius Brutus, whom

, Dionysius represents as the true leader of the plebeians on this important occasion, and whom he places at the head of his list of tribunes, is not mentioned by Livy or any Latin author. Cicero says that two tribunes were appointed in the first year, and ten in the second. (245) The difference in the numbers may, perhaps, be reconciled, by supposing that two were chosen by suffrage, and three by co-optation :(246) but the difference in the names is irreconcilable.

Fifthly, there is no fact in the first secession more strongly attested, or more consistently described, than the apologue of Menenius Agrippa. (4) It is represented as the main instrument by which the exasperation of the seceders was appeased, and an

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

(243) Livy. ii. 33 ; cf. iii. 54, where Sicinius is referred to as having been one of the first tribunes. Lydus, de Magistr. i. 38, says that the first tribunes were two in number.

(244) Dion. Hal. vi. 89. The latter name is corrupt in the MSS. It recurs in vii. 26. The statement that Sicinius and Brutus were the two first tribunes of the people also occurs in Suidas in 8ņuapxoi.

(245) De Rep. ii. 34 ; Orat. pro Corn. j. and Asconius. See Becker, ii. 2, p. 251 ; Arnold's Hist. of Rome, vol. i. p. 147. According to Livy and Dionysius, the increase to ten took place some years afterwards ; Becker, ib. p. 252. Livy, ubi sup., adds: “Sunt qui duos tantum in Sacro Monte creatos tribunos esse dicant, ibique sacratam legem latam.' Pomponius, Dig. i. 2, 2, § 20, says : Dicti tribuni, quod olim in tres partes populus divisus erat, et ex singulis singuli creabantur, vel quia tribuum suffragio creabantur. Asconius speaks of five tribunes having been ori. ginally appointed, one from each class. Cæterum quidam non duo tribunos plebis, ut Cicero dicit, sed quinque tradunt creatos tum esse, singulos ex singulis classibus ; Ad Orat. pro Corn. vol. v. part ii. p. 76, Orelli. The former of these statements seems to allude to the triple division of the people by Romulus ; the second, to the five classes of Servius.

(246) See Niebuhr, Hist. vol. i. p. 617. Dionysius states distinctly that the people elected the first tribunes in comitia curiata ; vi. 89, cf. ix. 41 ; and Cicero makes the statement with respect to the tribunes of the following year ; Pro Corn. i... These statements are rejected by Niebuhr, Hist. vol. i. p. 619; Becker, ib. p. 254, and others, as inconsistent with their theory of the curiæ, and the comitia curiata ; but if we are to regard the accounts of this period as historical, such distinct statements cannot be set aside on merely hypothetical grounds. If they are not to be regarded as historical, hypothetical explanations of them seem to be thrown away.

(247) Dion. Hal. vi. 83, 86; Livy, ii. 32; Plut. Cor. 6; Florus, i. 23 ; Scriptor de Vir. Ill. c. 18; Dio Cassius, xvii. 10; Zonaras, vii. 14.

[ocr errors]

agreement was ultimately effected. Dionysius says that it was found in all the ancient histories. (245) Yet Cicero expressly attributes the mitigation of the seceders on this occasion to the eloquence of M. Valerius the dictator: adding, that he received for this good deed the appellation of Maximus.(-19) In the detailed history of Roman eloquence, contained in his dialogue de claris Oratoribus, which he begins with the consul Brutus, no mention is made of Menenius, although the allusion to the first secession would naturally have suggested it. The language of Cicero seems to exclude the supposition that he conceived the speech of Menenius as having exercised the chief influence in bringing back the seceders; and is scarcely consistent with his knowledge of its connexion with that event. Indeed, Cicero nowhere speaks of this celebrated apologue, fond as he is of recurring to the examples of early Roman oratory. Valerius Maximus likewise agrees with Cicero in ascribing the return of the plebeians in the first secession exclusively to the eloquence of Valerius, and in omitting all mention of Menenius.(50) An ancient inscription, in honour of Valerius Maximus, likewise represents him to have induced the plebs to return from the Mons Sacer; to have reconciled them with the patricians; and to

(248) Extat orationis antiquæ satis efficax ad concordiam fabula ; Florus, ubi sup. Prisco illo dicendi et horrido more, nihil aliud quam

hoc narrasse fertur ; Livy, ii. 32. Above, n. 224.

(249) Videmus item paucis annis post reges exactos, cum plebes prope ripam Anienis ad tertium milliarium consedisset, eumque montem, qui Sacer appellatus est, occupavisset, M. Valerium dictatorem dicendo sedavisse discordias, eique ob eam rem honores amplissimos habitos, et eum primum ob eam ipsam causam Maximum esse appellatum ; Brut. c. 14. Dionysius mentions Manius Valerius in connexion with this event, but as having previously resigned the office of dictator. See above, p. 64.

(250) After describing the armed secession of the Mons Sacer, Valerius Maximus proceeds to say : . Erat non solum deformis, sed etiam miserrimus reipublicæ status, a capite ejus cæterâ parte corporis pestiferâ seditione divisâ ; ac ni Valerii subvenisset eloquentia, spes tanti imperii in ipso pene ortu suo corruisset. Is namque populum, novâ et insolità libertate temere gaudentem, oratione ad meliora et saniora consilia revocatum, senatui subjecit; id est, urbem urbi junxit. Verbis ergo facundis ira, consternatio, arma cesserunt;' viii. 9, § 1. Kempf, the recent editor of Valerius Maximus, thinks that in this passage he has confounded Valerius with Menenius : but we can scarcely suppose a similar confusion to have been made by Cicero, and the author of the Inscription.

have prevailed upon the Senate to liberate the people from its debts.(251) These notices differ entirely from the accounts of our historians. Livy says nothing of any Valerius on this occasion : Dionysius states that Manius Valerius was one of the ten ambassadors, and that he opened the negotiations by calling on the seceders to set forth their grievances; but the really important part in the conference with the seceders is assigned by him to Menenius, and it is an essential circumstance of his narrative as well as of Livy's, that the dictatorship of Valerius has ended before the secession begins. (252)

Sixthly, with respect to the time occupied by the secession, Dionysius says that it took place after the autumnal equinox (23rd September), about the beginning of seed-time; that the wealthier cultivators joined the patricians, and the artificers joined the plebeians; that the reconciliation was only a short time before the winter solstice (December 23); and that during this interval the land remained untilled. (253) This account is however inconsistent with his own narrative; according to which the secession took place before the election of the new consuls, which fell on the first of September; and the events from this time to the treaty with the Senate cannot

(251) M. Valerius f. Volusi Maximus, Dictator, Augur. Primus [prius?] quam ullum magistratum gereret dictator dictus est. Triumphavit de Šabinis et Medulinis. Plebem de sacro monte deduxit: gratiam cum patribus reconciliavit ; fænore gravi populum senatus hoc ejus rei auctore liberavit. Sellæ curulis locus ipsi posterisque ad Murciæ spectandi causâ datus est. Princeps in senatum seinel lectus est; Inscript. 535, ap. Orell. vol. i. p. 146. The victory of Valerius Maximus over the Sabines is mentioned by Dion. Hal. vi. 42 ; Livy, ii. 31. Concerning the altar of the goddess Murcia within the Circus Maximus at Rome, see Becker, vol. i. p. 467. For illustrations of this inscription, see Morcelli, Inscript. Lat. vol. i. p.

262. Its discovery is described in Gori, Inscript. vol. ii. p. 235. This and the inscription relating to Appius Cæcus were both found at Arezzo. They probably belong to the imperial period, but the orthography of the word fænus seems hardly a sutlicient ground (with Orelli) for questioning the genuineness of the inscription on Valerius Maximus.

(252) Niebuhr, Hist. vol. i. n. 1334, supposes the statement of Livy, viii. 18, that a nail had been formerly driven by the dictator in secessions of the plebs, to refer to this dictatorship of Valerius. The conjecture is however quite uncertain, and Livy's own narrative is not consistent with it.

(253) Dion. Hal. vii. 1. VOL. II.

a

G

occupy more than a few days; although he places the election of the tribunes on the 10th of December. (254)

If such leading facts as those adverted to are variously reported; if our accounts differ as to the place where the seceders encamped, the cause of the secession, the nature of the treaty by which it was ended,(255) and the number and names of the tri

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

6

(254) According to the detailed narrative of Dionysius, the first event after the secession is, that the Senate send envoys to request the seceders to state their demands, and that no answer is given to them. The consuls then appoint a day for the comitia ; the new consuls enter their office on the first of September ; vi. 48. [According to this account therefore the secession took place before the 1st of September, whereas according to vii. 1, this event was after the 23rd of the same month.] As soon as the new consuls are in office they convene the Senate, and a few days afterwards (rais ins ýuépars) they convene the assembly and another meeting of the Senate; c. 67. The meetings are held, and ten ambassadors are chosen, who go to the camp the same day ; c. 70. A conference immediately takes place, and some of the ambassadors return to Rome for fresh instructions; c. 88. A Senate is held, and the next day the ambassadors go out again to the camp and deliver their message. A deputation is sent from the camp to the Senate. On the following day Brutus returns to the camp, having made the treaty. Tribunes are elected, and enter on their office on the 10th of December ; c. 89. This narrative implies that only a few days elapsed between the election of the consuls, and that of the tribunes ; though Dionysius states it to have been more than three months. The expression ' per aliquot dies' in Livy, ii. 32, combined with the subsequent narrative, might seem to indicate that the secession was not of long duration. He speaks, however, in the next year of caritas annonæ ex incultis per secessionem plebis agris;' c. 34. See also the words of Corio. lanus, lower down. Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 607, thinks that the secession could only have lasted a few days, and supposes that the length of time assigned by Dionysius was determined mainly by the time fixed for the commencement of the oflice of tribune in later times, combined with the outbreak of the sedition in the consulship of Virginius and Veturius. It is not improbable that the precise calculation of Dionysius was founded on these data —but both he and Livy suppose the secession to have lasted a sufficient time to prevent the land from being tilled. This supposition is quite independent of the precise calculation of Dionysius ; for it accounts for the subsequent scarcity-and the scarcity is the cause of other events. Niebuhr is mistaken in thinking that Livy represents the secession as to have lasted only a few days. In his Lectures, vol. i. p. 141, he says: “The secession cannot have lasted more than about a fortnight, for the city could not have held out much longer, and a famine would have occurred if the legions had remained in possession of the fields.' Both Livy and Dionysius state that the secession did produce a famine.

(255) It cannot even be said that all the accounts agree in representing the institution of the Tribunate as the result of a compact between the Senate and the seceders. For Zonaras (who seems in this transaction to follow Dio Cassius very closely) describes the agreement as limited to the settlement of the debt-question : he represents the establishment of the

:

bunes first appointed; and if there are further discrepancies as to the duration of the secession, and the persons by whose influence the parties were reconciled ; and if we have no valid reason for preferring one account to another, how can we place the slightest reliance upon the detailed narrative of Dionysius? Although the story which he tells is not wanting in probability, it is destitute of external attestation, and has all the appearance of being an institution dramatized, like his own account of the origin of the dictatorship, and also like many of the scenes in the Cyropædia. (256) That the tribunes of the people had an origin is certain ; that their office grew out of a secession, and that the secession had been caused by the law of insolvency, may have been facts handed down by an authentic oral tradition, and registered at a time when the memory of them was well preserved. Even as to these leading facts, however, historical certainty is unattainable ; and it is still more uncertain whether any, and which of the other parts of the narrative are deserving of credit.(257) The fable of Menenius may be of indigenous origin; it is certainly ancient, and no such fable ever became celebrated in Greece.(258) It is well suited to the occasion of a

Tribunes as following indeed immediately upon the secession, but as a vo. luntary arrangement made by the plebeians among themselves; vii. 14, 15, Compare Dio Cass. xvii. 9-12.

(256) Becker, ii. 2, p. 283, n., considers this narrativo as arbitrarily compounded of miscellaneous notices.

(257) . Many of the narratives in the earliest history of Rome betray their fabulous nature by the contradictions and impossibilities they involve. There are none such in the account of the first secession, as given by Livy, and much more fully by Dionysius. Nor can we pronounce it to be quite impossible that a recollection of the various parties which divided the Senate, and of their spokesmen, should have been preserved; although unquestionably there were no traces of it in the oldest annals. And yet the internal connexion here merely proves the intelligence of the annalist who drew the story now adopted, as is clear from the irreconcilable contradictions between it and other stories, which at one time were no less in vogue;' Hist. vol. i. p. 603. In this, as in other passages, it is difficult to understand what Niebuhr means by ' annals' and 'annalists,' or in what manner he conceives the received historical accounts of this period to have originated. Dr. Arnold says of the first secession : The particulars of this second revolution are as uncertain as those of the overthrow of the monarchy;' Hist. of Rome, vol. i. p. 145.

(258) Dionysius says: τελευτών δε της δημηγορίας λέγεται μύθόν τινα ειπείν eis tèv Aloúhelov Tpórov oupaláoas; vi. 83. If the apologue of Menenius was delivered on this occasion, we must suppose the Æsopian fable to have

up

6

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »