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A Manual of Ancient History by A. H. L. Heeren

Hence arise the comitia tributa


HEYNE, _Foedera Carthaginiensium cum Romanis super navigatione et mercatura facta_: contained in his Opusc. t. iii. Cf. # A. H. L. HEEREN, _Ideas_, etc. Appendix to the second vol.

6. The further development of the Roman constitution in this period, hinges almost wholly on the struggle between the new presidents of the commons and the hereditary nobility; the tribunes, instead of confining themselves to defend the people from the oppression of the nobles, soon began to act as aggressors, and in a short time so widely overstepped their power, that there remained no chance of putting an end to the struggle but by a complete equalization of rights. A long time elapsed ere this took place; the aristocracy finding a very powerful support both in the clientship and in the religion of the state, operating under the shape of auspices.

Main facts of the contest: 1. In the trial of Coriolanus the tribunes usurp the right of summoning some patricians before the tribunal of the people.--Hence arise the _comitia tributa_; that is to say, either mere assemblies of the commons, or assemblies so organized that the commons had the preponderance. This institution gave the tribunes a share in the legislation, subsequently of such high importance, those officers being allowed to lay proposals before the commons. 2. More equitable distribution among the poorer classes of the lands conquered from the neighbouring

nations, (the most ancient _leges agrariae_,) suggested by the ambitious attempts of Cassius, 486. 3. Extension of the prerogatives of the _comitia tributa_, more especially in the election of the tribunes, brought about by Volero, 472. 4. Attempts at a legal limitation of the consular power by Terentillus, (_lex Terentilla_,) 460, which, after a long struggle, at last leads to the idea of one common written code, 452, which is likewise realized in spite of the opposition at first made by the patricians.

# CHR. F. SCHULZE, _Struggle between the Democracy and Aristocracy of Rome, or History of the Romans from the Expulsion of Tarquin to the Election of the first Plebeian Consul_. Altenburgh, 1802, 8vo. A most satisfactory development of this portion of Roman history.

7. The code of the twelve tables confirmed the ancient institutions, and was in part completed by the adoption of the laws of the Greek republics, among which Athens in particular is mentioned, whose counsels were requested by a special deputation. In this, however, two faults were committed; not only were the commissioners charged with drawing up the laws elected from the patricians _alone_, but they were likewise constituted sole magistrates, with _dictatorial_ power, (_sine provocatione_;) whereby a path was opened to them for an usurpation, which could be frustrated only by a sedition of the people.

Duration of the power of the Decemviri, 451-447. The doubts raised as to the deputation sent to Athens are not sufficient to invalidate the authenticity of an event so circumstantially detailed. Athens, under Pericles, was then at the head of Greece; and, admitting the proposed design of consulting the Greek laws, it was impossible that Athens should have been passed over. And indeed, why should it be supposed, that a state which fifty years before had signed a commercial treaty with Carthage, and could not be unacquainted with the Grecian colonies in Lower Italy, might not have sent an embassy into Greece?


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