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quent inundations must have contributed to make Rome
unhealthy,' so that devastating plagues were a common
occurrence, and not enough temples could be erected to
the healing gods. These temples may have satisfied the
superstitious feelings of the people, but far more bene-
ficial were the grand aqueducts, three of which had been
built before the year 146 B.C., the first by Appius Claudius
312 B.C.
It is very doubtful if much was done for the
cleaning of the streets, in spite of the exertions of the
ædiles. Besides, the pavement may also have been very
imperfect in many streets.3

Rome was not yet rich in public places, gardens, and walks. But this defect was perhaps compensated by open spaces within the walls, as it is not likely that all parts of the ground covered by the city were as yet thickly built upon. One large open space was the field of Mars between the hills and the Tiber. The town spread but slowly over these parts. It was not until C. Flaminius had erected a circus on the neighbouring Flaminian fields that temples and other buildings were gradually erected in the space to which modern Rome has now moved away from the hills.

If on the whole the external appearance of Rome of the city. before the erection of the grand imperial buildings, the fora, baths, palaces, theatres, and amphitheatres, could not be very imposing, care was at least taken that on festive occasions it should be richly decorated. For triumphal entries the route taken by the procession along the 1 Cicero, De Rep. ii. 6. Liv. vii. 38, 7.

2 Above, p. 144.

The little use made of vehicles explains the fact that so little attention was paid to the paving of the streets. The first proper pavement, as far as we know, was laid down in 174 B.C. Liv. xli. 27, 5. The material for paving the streets was silex. Cato proposed that the forum also should be paved (Plin. xix. 2, 24), but with murices, sharp, pointed stones, so that idlers might find it unpleasant to loiter there. We are not informed whether before the year 174 B.C. there was any sort of pavement in Rome. Fifteen years before that time the paving of the via Appia with siler is mentioned, Liv. xxxviii. 28, 3; but the distance (a porta Capena ad Martis) was very short, only about 1,000 paces. This part of the road had as early as 296 B.C. been provided with a flagged footpath (semita). Liv. x. 23, 12.

sacred street (via sacra) was hung with silver-plated shields and other ornaments. The pillars of the temples were frequently covered with trophies. At all times the forum and the capitol were crowded with statues which the state had erected to meritorious citizens, or which owed their existence to the family pride of Roman nobles. The latter had by degrees become so numerous that the censors of the year 158 B.C. caused all statues to be removed, except those that had been ordered on public authority.'



It may not have been easy to distinguish these two Statues. classes of monuments. The Romans were never very curious in scrutinising the genuineness of historical monuments. With a ready faith the mass of the people accepted the interpretation which was put upon them by the most barefaced vanity of family chroniclers.2 The morbid fondness for relics of antiquity was perhaps more prevalent in Rome than in any other place or time, excepting, of course, those ages in which the superstitious adoration of holy relics was a part of religion. If the Ruminal fig-tree, the cottage of Romulus, the statue of Servius, and similar things were shown, and believed by every Roman to be genuine, we have ample reason to doubt the authenticity of many alleged monuments and statues of the old times. All that was calculated to exalt noble families is particularly suspicious. The vanity of family chroniclers did not shrink even from forgery. Inventions which had been inserted, perhaps timidly at first, in the inscriptions of the ancestral room of the house, or in the family traditions, were by degrees given out with a bold front as undoubted historical records.3 From the beginning of the Punic wars the pride and am

1 Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxiv. 6, 30. Aur. Victor, 44. Mommsen, Röm. Staatsr. I. i. p. 417.

2 A good illustration of this credulity is the equestrian statue erected in the Via Sacra to Clolia, one of the hostages given up to Porsenna (vol. i. p. 88. Liv. ii. 13). The same statue was supposed by others to represent Valeria, a daughter of P. Valerius Poplicola. Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxiv. 13.

Vol. ii. p. 43, n. 4.


bition of the great families increased still more rapidly and prodigiously. Most of the monuments intended for their glorification at a later time were probably erected during this period, and thus the external appearance of the town plainly bore evidence of the change of the constitution into an oligarchy. To trace this gradual transformation of the republic is the task that now presents itself to our consideration.





Position of the Roman

Ar the commencement of the republic the patricians were
in possession of the whole power of the state, to the exclu-
sion of the plebeians. For a long time the struggles of
the latter to obtain fair and equal laws, a share in the allies.
government, and at last full equality with the old nobility,
form the substance of the constitutional history of Rome.
The final result of these struggles was the abolition of the
privileges of the patrician order and the establishment of
a constitution which seemed to exclude the chance of fur-
ther dissensions. The Roman commonwealth, thus en-
joying internal peace and unity, quickly rose to be the
dominant state in Italy, and to incorporate its various
races in the form of a confederation. Romans and allies
now stood in a relation to one another similar to that
of the patricians to the plebeians; the former furnished
with the full rights of citizenship, and exclusively entitled
to all honours, rights, and privileges of the state; the latter,
as subjects, compelled to bear the burdens of the state,
yet excluded from a share in the government. The glaring
injustice of the unnatural rule of one town over great
tracts of land did not lead to a reformation of the original
constitution, which was suited only for a country of smaller
dimensions, and the undue prolongation of this state of
affairs necessarily brought about a revolution, which at
last burst the antiquated form of the constitution, and
made room for a new order of things.

With the Hortensian laws, 287 B.O.,' the democracy
1 Vol. i. p. 447.



Aggrandisement of the

great Roman houses.

Minor reforms.

seemed to be completed. In form it was so indeed. The legislative power, free from all restrictions, was in the hands of the people, and every citizen had an equal share of the privileges and honours as well as of the obligation to serve the state. But the letter and the spirit of the constitution were even then not quite in accordance with each other, and in course of time the contrast between them became more glaring. In spite of the theoretic equality of rights, the actual influence of the common plebeian sank lower and lower, and the importance of the families who by nobility and wealth were qualified to govern the state rose in proportion. Even in former times, when the old patricians were legally all on a level with one another, certain families only had been de facto in the possession of power. As the state increased in size, the business of government became more complicated and more difficult, and a class of people was necessarily wanted who could devote themselves professionally to the service of the state, excluding those citizens whose time was occupied with daily toil in trades or agriculture. Thus was formed the nobility or new aristocracy of office, which gradually succeeded in monopolising all the high public offices, and in obtaining complete control of the government, without almost the shadow of an opposition, for about one hundred and fifty years, from the Hortensian laws to the Gracchi. The new aristocracy, feeling secure in the undisputed possession of power, was naturally disinclined to constitutional reforms. By the course of events they were placed in a condition to indulge their conservative principles. The uninterrupted wars which kept the people in constart excitement, and all of which ended with great conquests and advantages for the Roman state, had precisely the opposite effect to that which unfortunate wars usually

Though we do not know what was the numerical strength of the old patrician population, or the number of patrician gentes and families, it is clear enough from the Fasti that only a small proportion of them were admitted to the high offices of state, and that the great majority were then as much excluded from the chance of office as were in later times those who did not belong to the nobility.

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