Such was the primitive custom, and such it always remained in Hellas, where in later ages the same person not unfrequently held the freedom of several communities at the same time. But the greater vividness with which the conception of the community as such was realized in Latium could not tolerate the idea that a man might simultaneously belong in the character of a burgess to two communities; and accordingly, when the newly-chosen burgess did not intend to surrender his previous franchise, it attached to the nominal honorary citizenship no further meaning than that of an obligation to befriend and protect the guest (-jus hospitii-), such as had always been recognized as incumbent in reference to foreigners. But this rigorous retention of barriers against those that were without was accompanied by an absolute banishment of all difference of rights among the members included in the burgess community of Rome. We have already mentioned that the distinctions existing in the household, which of course could not be set aside, were at least ignored in the community; the son who as such was subject in property to his father might thus, in the character of a burgess, come to have command over his father as master. There were no class-privileges: the fact that the Tities took precedence of the Ramnes, and both ranked before the Luceres, did not affect their equality in all legal rights. The burgess cavalry, which at this period was used for single combat in front of the line on horseback or even on foot, and was rather a select or reserve corps than a special arm of the service, and which accordingly contained by far the wealthiest, best-armed, and best-trained men, was naturally held in higher estimation than the burgess infantry; but this was a distinction purely -de facto-, and admittance to the cavalry was doubtless conceded to any patrician. It was simply and solely the constitutional subdivision of the burgess-body that gave rise to distinctions recognized by the law; otherwise the legal equality of all the members of the community was carried out even in their external appearance. Dress indeed served to distinguish the president of the community from its members, the grown-up man under obligation of military service from the boy not yet capable of enrolment; but otherwise the rich and the noble as well as the poor and low-born were only allowed to appear in public in the like simple wrapper (-toga-) of white woollen stuff. This complete equality of rights among the burgesses had beyond doubt its original basis in the Indo-Germanic type of constitution; but in the precision with which it was thus apprehended and embodied it formed one of the most characteristic and influential peculiarities of the Latin nation. And in connection with this we may recall the fact that in Italy we do not meet with any race of earlier settlers less capable of culture, that had become subject to the Latin immigrants.(8) They had no conquered race to deal with, and therefore no such condition of things as that which gave rise to the Indian system of caste, to the nobility of Thessaly and Sparta and perhaps of Hellas generally, and probably also to the Germanic distinction of ranks.

Burdens Of The Burgesses

The maintenance of the state economy devolved, of course, upon the burgesses. The most important function of the burgess was his service in the army; for the burgesses had the right and duty of bearing arms. The burgesses were at the same time the "body of warriors" (-populus-, related to -populari-, to lay waste): in the old litanies it is upon the "spear-armed body of warriors" (-pilumnus poplus-) that the blessing of Mars is invoked; and even the designation with which the king addresses them, that of Quirites,(9) is taken as signifying "warrior." We have already stated how the army of aggression, the "gathering" (-legio-), was formed. In the tripartite Roman community it consisted of three "hundreds" (-centuriae-) of horsemen (-celeres-, "the swift," or -flexuntes-, "the wheelers") under the three leaders-of-division of the horsemen (-tribuni celerum-)(10) and three "thousands" of footmen (-milties-) under the three leaders-of-division of the infantry (-tribuni militum-), the latter were probably from the first the flower of the general levy. To these there may perhaps have been added a number of light-armed men, archers especially, fighting outside of the ranks.(11) The general was regularly the king himself. Besides service in war, other personal burdens might devolve upon the burgesses; such as the obligation of undertaking the king's commissions in peace and in war,(12) and the task-work of tilling the king's lands or of constructing public buildings. How heavily in particular the burden of building the walls of the city pressed upon the community, is evidenced by the fact that the ring-walls retained the name of "tasks" (-moenia-). There was no regular direct taxation, nor was there any direct regular expenditure on the part of the state. Taxation was not needed for defraying the burdens of the community, since the state gave no recompense for serving in the army, for task-work, or for public service generally; so far as there was any such recompense at all, it was given to the person who performed the service either by the district primarily concerned in it, or by the person who could not or would not himself serve. The victims needed for the public service of the gods were procured by a tax on actions at law; the defeated party in an ordinary process paid down to the state a cattle-fine (-sacramentum-) proportioned to the value of the object in dispute. There is no mention of any regular presents to the king on the part of the burgesses. On the other hand there flowed into the royal coffers the port-duties,(13) as well as the income from the domains--in particular, the pasture tribute (-scriptura-) from the cattle driven out upon the common pasture, and the quotas of produce (-vectigalia-) which those enjoying the use of the lands of the state had to pay instead of rent.

The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy Page 31

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