These narratives, however, give us no information as to the main matter, the legal relation between the new Roman republic and the Latin confederacy; and what from other sources we learn regarding that relation comes to us without date, and can only be inserted here with an approximation to probability.
Original Equality Of Rights Between Rome And Latium
The nature of a hegemony implies that it becomes gradually converted into sovereignty by the mere inward force of circumstances; and the Roman hegemony over Latium formed no exception to the rule. It was based upon the essential equality of rights between the Roman state on the one side and the Latin confederacy on the other;(1) but at least in matters of war and in the treatment of the acquisitions thereby made this relation between the single state on the one hand and the league of states on the other virtually involved a hegemony. According to the original constitution of the league not only was the right of making wars and treaties with foreign states--in other words, the full right of political self-determination--reserved in all probability both to Rome and to the individual towns of the Latin league; and when a joint war took place, Rome and Latium probably furnished the like contingent, each, as a rule, an "army" of 8400 men;(2) but the chief command was held by the Roman general, who then nominated the officers of the staff, and so the leaders-of-division (-tribuni militum-), according to his own choice. In case of victory the moveable part of the spoil, as well as the conquered territory, was shared between Rome and the confederacy; when the establishment of fortresses in the conquered territory was resolved on, their garrisons and population were composed partly of Roman, partly of confederate colonists; and not only so, but the newly-founded community was received as a sovereign federal state into the Latin confederacy and furnished with a seat and vote in the Latin diet.
Encroachments On That Equality Of Rights-- As To Wars And Treaties-- As To The Officering Of The Army-- As To Acquisitions In War
These stipulations must probably even in the regal period, certainly in the republican epoch, have undergone alteration more and more to the disadvantage of the confederacy and to the further development of the hegemony of Rome. The earliest that fell into abeyance was beyond doubt the right of the confederacy to make wars and treaties with foreigners;(3) the decision of war and treaty passed once for all to Rome. The staff officers for the Latin troops must doubtless in earlier times have been likewise Latins; afterwards for that purpose Roman citizens were taken, if not exclusively, at any rate predominantly.(4) On the other hand, afterwards as formerly, no stronger contingent could be demanded from the Latin confederacy as a whole than was furnished by the Roman community; and the Roman commander-in-chief was likewise bound not to break up the Latin contingents, but to keep the contingent sent by each community as a separate division of the army under the leader whom that community had appointed.(5) The right of the Latin confederacy to an equal share in the moveable spoil and in the conquered land continued to subsist in form; in reality, however, the substantial fruits of war beyond doubt went, even at an early period, to the leading state. Even in the founding of the federal fortresses or the so-called Latin colonies as a rule presumably most, and not unfrequently all, of the colonists were Romans; and although by the transference they were converted from Roman burgesses into members of an allied community, the newly planted township in all probability frequently retained a preponderant--and for the confederacy dangerous--attachment to the real mother-city.
The rights, on the contrary, which were secured by the federal treaties to the individual burgess of one of the allied communities in every city belonging to the league, underwent no restriction. These included, in particular, full equality of rights as to the acquisition of landed property and moveable estate, as to traffic and exchange, marriage and testament, and an unlimited liberty of migration; so that not only was a man who had burgess-rights in a town of the league legally entitled to settle in any other, but whereever he settled, he as a right-sharer (-municeps-) participated in all private and political rights and duties with the exception of eligibility to office, and was even--although in a limited fashion --entitled to vote at least in the -comitia tributa-.(6)
Of some such nature, in all probability, was the relation between the Roman community and the Latin confederacy in the first period of the republic. We cannot, however ascertain what elements are to be referred to earlier stipulations, and what to the revision of the alliance in 261.
With somewhat greater certainty the remodelling of the arrangements of the several communities belonging to the Latin confederacy, after the pattern of the consular constitution in Rome, may be characterized as an innovation and introduced in this connection. For, although the different communities may very well have arrived at the abolition of royalty in itself independently of each other,(7) the identity in the appellation of the new annual kings in the Roman and other commonwealths of Latium, and the comprehensive application of the peculiar principle of collegiateness,(8) evidently point to some external connection. At some time or other after the expulsion of the Tarquins from Rome the arrangements of the Latin communities must have been throughout revised in accordance with the scheme of the consular constitution. This adjustment of the Latin constitutions in conformity with that of the leading city may possibly belong only to a later period; but internal probability rather favours the supposition that the Roman nobility, after having effected the abolition of royalty for life at home, suggested a similar change of constitution to the communities of the Latin confederacy, and at length introduced aristocratic government everywhere in Latium-- notwithstanding the serious resistance, imperilling the stability of the Romano-Latin league itself, which seems to have been offered on the one hand by the expelled Tarquins, and on the other by the royal clans and by partisans well affected to monarchy in the other communities of Latium.