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781

ROME.-CONQUEST OF ITALY.

contest. So it was when the consulship was finally thrown open to the plebeians.

The measure was coupled with the creation of the patrician office of praetor, to

which was assigned the performance of the judicial duties hitherto belonging to

the consuls. Though the nobles could not prevent the accession of a plebeian

consul, they succeeded in stripping the office of a part of its dignity.

The general effect of this stormy legislation was to bring about an era of calm,

which might have continued for a long period but for the hereditary distrust of

the two factions in Roman society. As for the patricians, they refused to regard

their defeat as final and continued to strive for the recovery of their lost

prerogatives, while the plebeians failed not to complain and struggle as long as

a vestige of discrimination was held against them. Of the exclusive privileges

still retained by the patrician order, the most important were the offices of

dictator, censor, and praetor. Up to this time, also, the pontiffs and augurs

were always chosen from the patricians. These privileges, however, were invaded

one by one. The dictatorship was open to plebeian occupation in B. C. 356; the

censorship, in B. C. 351; the praetorship, in B. C. 337. Until the close of the

century the pontiffs and augurs continued to be exclusively patrician; but in B.

C. 300 the number in the pontifical college was increased from five to eight, and

that of the augurs from six to nine; and it was enacted that four of the former

and five of the latter officers should be chosen from the plebeian ranks.

It was not long, however, until the patricians broke faith with the people by

securing the election of both consuls from their own ranks. As a kind of balm for

this aggression they agreed to a reduction, B. C. 347, of the rate of interest to

five per cent. The concession, however, did not suffice to calm the popular

discontent. In the year B. C. 342 the Roman army, being then in winter quarters

in Campania, rose in mutiny and marched on the city. The government,

notwithstanding the appointment of the popular dictator, Valerius Corvus, was

suddenly forced into the humblest attitude. The Licinian laws were reenacted, and

to these were added four additional sections, which were made necessary by the

alarming condition of affairs in the state.

The first of these enactments provided that both consuls might be chosen from the

plebeian order; the second, that no Roman soldier while in active service should

be discharged without his own consent; the third, that no person should be

elected to the same magistracy within ten years; and the fourth, that all

interest on loans should be abolished.

No sooner was the peril passed than the patricians again attempted to regain at

least a portion of their privileges. The public land was distributed, not

according to the law of Licinius, but in such way as to subserve the interests of

the Senate. The latter body con- tinued also to exercise in a factious spirit its

right of withholding sanction from the resolutions adopted in the comitia. For

three years after the mutiny the broil continued until, in B. C. 339, the

dictator, Quintius Publilius Philo, secured the enactment of three additional

laws. The first of these statutes required that the resolutions carried in the

plebeian assembly of the tribes should be binding on all the people; the second,

that all laws passed in the comitia centuriata should previously receive the

sanction of the Senate; the third, that one of the two censors must be a

plebeian. It will be seen that the first of these laws was to all intents a

reenactment of the Valerio Horatian statute of B. C. 449. The second law was a

virtual abrogation of the veto power held hitherto by the patricians over the

legislation of the state; while the third enabled the plebeians to exercise a

direct influence on the census and the consequent distribution of senators and

knights.

In the mean time, B. C. 365, the great dictator Camillus had died. He was,

without doubt, the most illustrious Roman of the age. In wisdom, patriotism, and

influence, he has been considered by many the greatest man of the Republic before

the days of Julius Caesar. He was carried off by a plague of the year 365, but

fell at a ripe age and full of honors. The pestilence in which he was carried

away was the sixth visitation of the kind with which the city had been afflicted

since the expulsion