While in earlier times the client was exclusively left dependent for legal protection on the intervention of the patron, the more the state became consolidated and the importance of the clanships and households in consequence diminished, the more frequently must the individual client have obtained justice and redress of injury, even without the intervention of his patron, from the king. A great number of the non-burgesses, particularly the members of the dissolved Latin communities, had, as we have already said, probably from the outset not any place as clients of the royal or other great clans, and obeyed the king nearly in the same manner as did the burgesses. The king, whose sovereignty over the burgesses was in truth ultimately dependent on the good-will of those obeying, must have welcomed the means of forming out of his own -proteges- essentially dependent on him a body bound to him by closer ties.


Thus there grew up by the side of the burgesses a second community in Rome: out of the clients arose the Plebs. This change of name is significant. In law there was no difference between the client and the plebeian, the "dependent" and the "man of the multitude;" but in fact there was a very important one, for the former term brought into prominence the relation of dependence on a member of the politically privileged class; the latter suggested merely the want of political rights. As the feeling of special dependence diminished, that of political inferiority forced itself on the thoughts of the free --metoeci--; and it was only the sovereignty of the king ruling equally over all that prevented the outbreak of political conflict between the privileged and the non-privileged classes.

The Servian Constitution

The first step, however, towards the amalgamation of the two portions of the people scarcely took place in the revolutionary way which their antagonism appeared to foreshadow. The reform of the constitution, which bears the name of king Servius Tullius, is indeed, as to its historical origin, involved in the same darkness with all the events of a period respecting which we learn whatever we know not by means of historical tradition, but solely by means of inference from the institutions of later times. But its character testifies that it cannot have been a change demanded by the plebeians, for the new constitution assigned to them duties alone, and not rights. It must rather have owed its origin either to the wisdom of one of the Roman kings, or to the urgency of the burgesses that they should be delivered from exclusive liability to burdens, and that the non-burgesses should be made to share on the one hand in taxation--that is, in the obligation to make advances to the state (the -tributum-)--and rendering task-work, and on the other hand in the levy. Both were comprehended in the Servian constitution, but they hardly took place at the same time. The bringing in of the non-burgesses presumably arose out of the economic burdens; these were early extended to such as were "possessed of means" (-locupletes-) or "settled people" (-adsidui-, freeholders), and only those wholly without means, the "children-producers" (-proletarii-, -capite censi-) remained free from them. Thereupon followed the politically more important step of bringing in the non-burgesses to military duty. This was thenceforth laid not upon the burgesses as such, but upon the possessors of land, the -tribules-, whether they might be burgesses or mere --metoeci--; service in the army was changed from a personal burden into a burden on property. The details of the arrangement were as follow.

The Five Classes

Every freeholder from the eighteenth to the sixtieth year of his age, including children in the household of freeholder fathers, without distinction of birth, was under obligation of service, so that even the manumitted slave had to serve, if in an exceptional case he had come into possession of landed property. The Latins also possessing land--others from without were not allowed to acquire Roman soil--were called in to service, so far as they had, as was beyond doubt the case with most of them, taken up their abode on Roman territory. The body of men liable to serve was distributed, according to the size of their portions of land, into those bound to full service or the possessors of a full hide,(6) who were obliged to appear in complete armour and in so far formed pre-eminently the war army (-classis-), and the four following ranks of smaller landholders--the possessors respectively of three fourths, of a half, of a quarter, or of an eighth of a whole farm--from whom was required fulfilment of service, but not equipment in complete armour, and they thus had a position below the full rate (-infra classem-). As the land happened to be at that time apportioned, almost the half of the farms were full hides, while each of the classes possessing respectively three-fourths, the half, and the quarter of a hide, amounted to scarcely an eighth of the freeholders, and those again holding an eighth of a hide amounted to fully an eighth. It was accordingly laid down as a rule that in the case of the infantry the levy should be in the proportion of eighty holders of a full hide, twenty from each of the three next ranks, and twenty-eight from the last.


The cavalry was similarly dealt with. The number of divisions in it was tripled, and the only difference in this case was that the six divisions already existing with the old names (-Tities-, -Ramnes-, -Luceres- -primi- and -secundi-) were left to the patricians, while the twelve new divisions were formed chiefly from the non-burgesses. The reason for this difference is probably to be sought in the fact that at that period the infantry were formed anew for each campaign and discharged on their return home, whereas the cavalry with their horses were on military grounds kept together also in time of peace, and held their regular drills, which continued to subsist as festivals of the Roman equites down to the latest times.(7) Accordingly the squadrons once constituted were allowed, even under this reform, to keep their ancient names.

The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy Page 40

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