Text from ‘A History of Rome’ by Tenney Frank

A History of Rome Chapter 13 words


The father of the Gracchi was an intimate acquaintance
of Aemilius Paullus, who had instituted the government of
the Macedonian republics on representative lines ; and the
Greek scholars, Polybius and Blossius, could have told the
young reformer how the principle was applied in the Greek
leagues. It is only just to assume that he would have taken
the obvious last step to complete his constitutional reforms
in such a way as to make his democracy consistent and prac-
ticablc. That last step might well have saved Rome.

The Senate, however, can hardly be blamed for attempt-
ing to save itself and the hegemony of Rome. Rome had
organized Italy and the world, why should not R ome be
able to rule them? Why confess inability and summon Italy
to the task? But if Rome should rule, obviously the assem-
bly was unfit. It could not discuss measures, could not gov-
ern provinces, could not even be trusted to judge when mar-
tial law was needed. If we grant the Senate’s first na rrow
premises, its argument is valid. Since Gracchus failed to en-
large the sovereign body and create an efficient govern-
mental agency out of it, there was only one thing for the
Senate to do at present and that was to insist upon advisory
rights over all functions of government. It was the fatal
misfortune of Rome that Italy and the populace did not have
the wisdom and courage to aid Gracchus to the logical end
of his remarkable program. When we see how our own
constitution has not been able to transform itself in any
essential detail by legal amendments, while every essential
part of its machinery has been forced to change by custom,
we realize how near the impossi ble was Gracchus’ task, and
we are less inclined to blame the people for their lack of
liberality and the Senate for its stubborn reliance on its own
record. Unfortunately the Senate learned only pride from
its victory ; but the struggle had formulated the issue so
clearly that the class war was sure to return. When it did
it was the selfish military ruler who took advantage of
the contest and overwhelmed both the contestants.



For many years after the death of Gracchus, all classes

seemed to be stunned by what had occurred. It was a
shocking discovery that Rome, hitherto capable of apply-
ing cool reason before the clash of passion, had now acted
like any Oriental mob. Factional enmity ran high, but fear
of extreme measures that would lead to a new outbreak of
bloody riots kept both parties ready to compromise. The
land-laws were modified as we have seen, the Senate did
not try to annul the rest that had been done, and the trib-
unes for the present let the Senate reassert its supremacy in
administration. The Senate knew, however, that its claims to
leadership had been challenged with precedents’ that
would not be forgotten. So long as the Republic remained
there was hardly a measure of importance which was not
discussed from the point of view of the question raised by
Gracchus : was the people sovereign, or had the aristocratic
Senate won a dominating position in the government?

Narbonese Gaul. During the years of peace that fol-
lowed 121 Rome gradually built up a province in southern
Gaul to serve as a gateway to Spain by land. In this affair

both parties were on the whole fairly well agreed. As early
as 153 Rome had aided Marseilles- in return for many
past favors-to subdue the troublesome barbarians who
lived in the mountains on her rear, and had been a f ellow-
signatory of a treaty that established Massiliot sovereignty
there and restricted wine-raising in favor of Massiliot com-

merce. In 125 Rome had again gone to the aid of Mar·

seilles, this time against raids of the Allobroges and Ar-
verni, and the work of pacification authorized by the Senate



had continued during the career of Gaius, and doubtless
with his approval. Marseilles and Rome acted together
with the under standing that Rome should have a strip of
the conquered territory north of Marseilles for a road to
Spain. Marseilles did not care for a land empire, and de-
sired only peace for trade. A Roman province would shut
her in, but would thereby also keep her protected, and the
Roman road would be a clear advantage to her traders.
The Senate was interested in securing a safe military route
to the Spanish province, while Gracchus had large enough
views to appreciate its argument, as well as, perhaps, to
see that Roman commerce, in which he had more faith than
the Senate, might soon find some benefit from the building
of the road. In 121 Domitius and in 120 Fabius defeated
the Allobroges and Arverni. They took very little of the
territory won, but they set free the Gallic tribes in the rear
of the Arverni, and accepted a treaty of friendship with
the Aedui. The war won respect among the Gallic tribes
for Rome and her friend Marseilles. The Narbonese pro-
vince was laid out along the coast, the Domitian road built
and paved as far as the Rhone, Tolosa was made a frontier
post, and in 118 the Roman colony of Narbo was settled.
This colony was founded on the Gracchan idea that Rome
should take her part in the commerce of the Mediterranean,
and it was settled by a commission under Licinius Crassus,
a knight who represented the new business interests in the
popular faction. Its foundation, therefore is a sure index
of a growing influence of business interests in the state, and
of a readier acquiescence in their program by the Senate
than was shown by that body in regard to Carthage.

The Jugurthine War. Troubles with Jugurtha in Nu-
midia, however, stirred up party strife to a dangerous pitch
again. Masinissa’s son had died in 118, and foolishly left
his kingdom to three heirs, two sons, Adherbal and Hiemp-
sal, and an illegitimate nephew, Jugurtha . Jugurtha was
an energetic barbarian, ambitious, popular, a very skilful


leader of men, but none too scrupulous. He had led a troop
of Numidian horse at Numantia, and Scipio Aemilianus and
the many influential young Romans there had learned to
like him for his dashing courage. He now thought that he
might rely on the friendship of such men and win himself
the kingdom of Numidia. The history of this war is very
dramatically told by Sallust, a friend of Julius Caesar, but
since Sallus chose the topic because it gave him an oppor-
tunity to criticize senatorial government and justify popu-
lar administration of provinces-a topic of keen interest in
his day . we feel that we must tone down the chiaroscuro
of his picture. The war stirred up an intense discussion,
bitter tirades of senators and tribunes, which of course were

published. Such speeches, which Sallust freely used, were as
reliable for historical purposes as are bitterly partisan
speeches and editorials to-day. Many things were uttered
in the heat of passion, based on circulating rumors, that a
more practical and impartial historian would have hesitated to
repeat. The facts seem to be as follows : Jugurtha and
Hiempsal first fell to quarreling. Hiempsal was killed,
probably at Jugurtha’s orders. Adherbal thought so, and
took up the quarrel. When beaten he fled to Rome. The
Senate had no interest in the kingdom, but feeling that
peace ought to be established in its protectorate it sent a
commission to arbitrate. This commission divided the king-
dom between Jugurtha and Adherbal. Again war broke
out, Jugurtha drove his cousin to Cirta ( Constantine ) and
besieged him there (113). Again Rome sent a commission
to work for peace ; but the commission was put off by prom-
ises. Sallust says it was bribed. This was certainly charged
by the tribunes at Rome. Whether the charge is true is
quite a different question. Naturally the Senate did not

wish to intervene with arms in an autonomous kingdom ;
furthermore, it was now worried by a threatened invasion
of the Cimbri in the north and did not wish to send forces
to Africa ; finally, the Senate knew that Jugurtha was a


strong ruler of the kind that a barbarous people like the
Numidian s needed. The discussion must have sounded like
some recent disputes about the proposed recognition of vig .
orous presidents in Mexico who have seized the power by force
of arms. In 112 Cirta fell, Adherbal was killed, the
city sacked, and many Roman traders from the province
of Africa were killed in the melee. Now the Senate had
to act with vigor, especially as Roman tribunes began to
discuss the affair as an object lesson in senatorial adminis-
tration. An army was sent in 111 under Calpurnius Bestia.
But his army was small, since the Senate had to keep the

Cimbri in mind. Calpurnius in fact seems to have had
orders to do only what was necessary to save the reputa-
tion of Rome, and make peace as soon as possible. This
he did. But the tribunes claimed that the Senate was dis-
gracing Rome in making any peace with Jugurtha. Mem-
mius, one of them, took the matter up in the assembly, and
charged that the leaders of the Senate must have been
bribed. He proposed and passed a bill that Jugurtha be
called to Rome under safe-conduct to testify in an examina-
tion into charges of bribery. Jugurtha came and the assem-
bly set about its amusing trial of the Senate over the head of
a barbarian prince. When he was ordered to speak, another
tribune interposed his veto. Thus balked, the enemies of
Jugurtha prompted Massiva, a cousin of Jugurtha, then at

Rome, to claim the throne of Numidia. Jugurtha did not

hesitate to have the new pretender assassinated. Now, of
course, the Senate ha d to act. It ordered Jugurtha out of
Italy, and declared war on him. In 110 the consul Albinus
was sent over, and having little military skill he was de-
feated by Jugurtha’ s excellently trained cavalry. The as-
sembly was again in an uproar and, acting under the Ma-
milian plebiscite, instituted a special court to try the guilty.
The last two consuls who had commanded in Africa, Cal-
purnius and Albinus, were “found guilty” on the charge of
accepting bribes and outlawed. Caecilius Metellus, a better


general took command in 109. He brought two men of
military skill with him, Marius, a vigorous democrat, and
Rutilius Rufus. With an army trained by these men he ad-
vanced cautiously and gained several minor successes, but
Jugurtha, taking advantage of his mobile cavalry and the

desert, dragged out the contest in guerilla warfare. The
populace of Rome asserted that neither efficiency nor hon-
esty was to be found in any of the nobles, and when Marius
arrived from Africa just before the election and presented
himself as a candidate, promising that he would finish the
war in one year, he was elected despite the opposition of
the Senate. Indeed, the assembly made bold to hark back

to a Gracchan precedent, took the administration of the
war in their own hands, and disregarding the right of the
Senate to draw the lots simply appointed Marius to the


Marius as consul. This strange man had as yet done

nothing remarkable to attract attention. The son of a
land-owner and knight of Arpinum, he had quit agriculture
and engaged in active business with the public contractors.
When a young man in the army he had proved to be a good
cavalry officer at Numantia. He was not afraid of work
and study, and he liked to see things done thoroughly. In

fact his success lay largely in his ability to work hard and
accomplish his work well in the two or three excellent
opportunities that chance offered. It lay hardly at all in
brilliant mental endowment or in the comprehension of

statesmanship. As tribune in 119 he had showed his friend·
ship for the populace in some ballot reforms, but obeyed
his business sense rathe r than a temptation to demagoguery
when he opposed an extension of corn-doles. An indifferent
praetor in 115, he became propraetor of Further Spain
in 114, where he gained some more military experience in
suppressing brigandage. A very fine sense of propriety he
did not have or he would not have canvassed for the con-
sulship by attacking Metellus upon whose generosity he had




depended. His moral backbone was never quite dependable
when position was at stake.

The volunteer system. In 107 he took over the command
which the people had voted him, and was expected to make
the usual levy of troops to strengthen the army. What he
did was not a little surprising. He did not care for the
usual forced levy, but called for volunteers, and enrolled
all who seemed physically fit. Hitherto every young citizen
of property at Rome had had to take his turn, and though
the practice of excluding the unpropertied had not firmly
been adhered to, it had been assumed that all citizens
should share the burden of army service and that those
who had property were logically the defenders of the state.
Marius’ reason for calling for volunteers may have been
that drafting brought many unwilling men into the line, and
that with the spread of latifundia and slave-farming, it was
more and more difficult to recruit an army of the old type.
In fact, with an army already in Africa and many troops
needed in the north, he might have to waste time by waiting
for the machinery of the draft to get in order.

His change was momentous, however, in a city-state like
Rome, where the central government might readily be
crushed by an army of volunteers who presumably had little
interest in property or in the state’s welfare. Henceforth
soldiers would obviously fight for what was promised by
the general, not for their homes and their state, and being
largely disaffected proletariat their loyalty would be at-
tached to the giver of the promises rather than to the state.
Marius was the first Roman consul who rewarded soldiers
with land. Apparently his plea for volunteers had em-
bodied some promise of more than the soldier’s stipend.
Rome may not have read the meaning of his change, and
Marius probably did not see the entire implication, but this

“reform” of the army it was that made militarism possible
at Rome.

The end of the Jugurthine war. Marius quickly brought

this new army of volunteers into good condition, and being
skilled in military tactics soon out-maneuvered Jugurtha, who
fled to his friend King Bacchus of Mauretania. Marius sent
his young quaestor Sulla to Bacchus to demand the surren-
der of Jugurtha. This the clever young nobleman by
threats and promises succeeded in accomplishing, and
Marius was able to return in triumph to show that his cam-
paign promises had been kept. Sulla, who thought his own
part in the final success had been underestimated, suppressed
his grudge for a later day. Numidia was disposed of by
the Senate in the old conservative fashion. Bacchus re-

ceived a part as reward for his surrender of Jugurtha. The
main part was given to a cousin of Jugurtha to rule and a

portion near the Roman province of Africa was annexed to
the province.

The Cimbri and Teutones. Marius was reelected con-
sul, contrary to law, and sent to the North by the assembly
to retrieve the very disgraceful losses that senatorial com-
manders had sustained at the hands of invading barbarians.
We must go back a few years to pick up the threads of the
story. It was in 113 that the Romans first heard of the
Cimbri, one more of those terrible hordes that came from
the prolific north in search of a southern home. They were
apparently a Teutonic tribe from the Baltic region. Com-
ing down by way of Noricum (modern Austria ) , they at-
tempted to enter the Po valley from the east. Here the
Roman army went to meet them, and, though defeated, it
had given such good account of itself that the Cimbri turned
hack. Two years later the Cimbri entered Gaul, trying
without success to compel the Celtic tribes to make a place
for them. Later in 109 they sent a request to Rome for
lands in the province or in Italy and were of course refused,
whereu pon they attacked the small force of the Roman
consul on the Rhone and defeated him. Again they felt it
wise to turn back. In 107 they returned strengthened by
the Teutones and the Tigurini. Tolosa was taken, and Cas··


sius Longinus, marching to its rescue, was caught in an am,
bush and badly defeated. The Narbonese province was
overrun. The next consul, Servilius, thoroughly hated by
the populace for his attempt at restoring the court panels to
the senators, cleared the province and retook Tolosa, but
when in 105 he was asked to work with the succeeding
consul, the popular leader Manlius, political quarrels dis-
rupted the good army of 80,000 men, which f ell a prey
to the enemy i n a disgraceful battle at Orange (Arausio ).
Marius had now returned from Numidia and was hur-
ried to the front. The enemy had again turned back, this

time to try their fortune in Spain. Marius was, therefore,
given time to build up a good army. He now undertook
some new changes of the army, inviting mercenary auxil-
iaries of horse, bowmen and slingers from the client princes,
and especially from Liguria, Crete and the Balearic islands.
Such contingents henceforth constituted a regular part of
a Roman army. With this aid in light-armed forces he
could solidify the Roman and Italian legion, which, consist-
ing largely of volunteers, seemed perhaps less dependable
than before. The maniple was indeed retained, but five
maniples were massed together in a solid cohort of 600 and
ten of these now constitu ted a l egion. Marius thought i t
wise not to follow the enemy into Spain, but to await their
return. The time was spent in drilli ng and i n cutting a new
channel for commerce at the mouth of the Rhone, a work
not only of service in supplying his army from home and in
keeping his men fit but also i n the vigorous trade of Rome
and Marseilles now growing up in this province. Marius

saw these things with the eyes of an experienced man of

The enemy did not return till late in ro3, when Marius
had been reelected to his fourth consulship. Even the
Senate was now willing to break the law in order to escape
responsibil ity in a case of such great danger. On their
return the hordes divided, the Cimbri pref erring to go back


through Switzerland to try the northeast entrance to Italy.
The Teutones and Ambrones attempted the direct road
past Marius. He struck them at Aquae Sextiae, above Mar-
seilles, and destroyed them completely. In a battle of such
a nature there was no thought of surrender. The barbar-
ians had their women and children with them and they did
not ask for terms that would probably betray these to
slavery. Marius, who was now consul for the fif th term,
returned to the Po to help Catulus, who had failed to pre-
vent the invasion of the Cimbri. In I o I the two generals
met there at Vercellae, not far from Turin, and defeated
this mass as decisively as the Teutones had been ; r 20,000
were slain, and 60,000 were taken prisoners and sold as
slaves, chiefly as farm slaves on Italian latifundia. We are
not surprised to hear that these slaves were the backbone of
Spartacus’ slave-army twenty-five years later. Henceforth
Rome did not again for 500 years have to stop “folkwan-
dering” masses in Italy. Julius Caesar transferred the
frontier of the empire to the Rhine when he met Ario-
vistus in 5 8.

Capitalists in politics.- Before the wars in Africa and
the North were at an end the Romans found that the new
political group created by the Gracchan legislation was
growing very influential. In the olden day “new” men of
wealth and influence had sooner or later ma de their way
into the Senate. Now that Gracchus had given equestrian
capitalists certain distinctive offices, privileges and insignia,
they were apt to form a group apart and gradually to de-
velop an esprit de corps for their group, which promised to
create a permanent third party. And furthermore the
profits of the Asiatic tax gathering and of the banking and
merchandising enterprises connected therewith promised to
increase the group rapidly. The bitter factional struggles
of Rome that led up to the “Social” or “Marsian” war
were due largely to the antagonism between the Senate and
the knights, both of which tried constantly to win the favor


of the people, who of course controlled the electoral and law-
making assemblies.

One of the first results of capitalistic power was a de-
mand for the suppression of piracy on the high seas for
the sake of safeguarding commerce. The commercial states
of Rhodes and Pergamum had till recently policed the east-
ern seas effectively. But now Pergamum belonged to Rome,
and Rhod es, though she still possessed a fleet, saw no need
of spending her treasures i n policing the seas that had
come to be so largely Roman. Furthermore, Rome had
ma de the mistake of giving independence to the southern
parts of the Pergamene kingdom, the inhabitants of which
were wholly unaccustomed to autonomy . In consequence
many of the people of Cilicia and Pamphylia took to brig-
andage and sea-roving ; and since the Roman Senate cared
too little for commerce to appropria te money for navies,
the nuisance soon grew to vast proportions. The pirates
profi ted especially in capturing passengers whom they sold
as slaves, and presently in raiding coast towns of the east
for human booty. They even organized kidnapping expe-
ditions which raided the inner principalities of Asia Minor.
Finally, in 103, a yea r when the knights were especially
powerful in the government of Rome, the Senate was in-
duced to take action. Antonius, a pra etor, was sent out
with a fl eet-a large part of which was requ isitioned from
the Greek naval allies-to clear the seas. This he soon
succeeded i n doing, and, to make the work permanent, he
took formal possession of the Cilician coast, where most
of the off enders lived, and organized i t i nto a new province.
Unfortuna tely Rome could not then aff ord to send out a
standing army to clear and police the mountainous region

in the province, so that Pompey had to do the work over
ma ny years after.

The slave ‘War in Sicily. Indirectly this attempt at doing
one’s duty led to serious trouble in the province of Sicily.
It happened that many of the persons captured and sold as


slaves by the pirates had been bought by the Greek pla nta·
tion owners of Sicily to make up for losses sustained in a
recent slave-uprising. The Roman governor was ordered
by the Senate in 104 to investigate the claims to freedom
which were being made by very many slaves, and to liberate
those that could establish their claims. When the slave
population presently heard that more than 800 ha d been
set free, there was intense excitement. All demanded a
hearing. The proconsul, seeing the danger he had invited,
postponed the inquiry, but it was now too late. The slaves
everywhere broke away from their masters and gathered into
bands to fight for freedom. Many thousands collected in
central Sicily and elected Tryphon king, another group in
eastern Sicily chose Athenian. Tryphon’s army attacked and
defeated the proconsul’s hastily gathered legion, and

with a force which soon grew to 4.0,000 ma rched back and
forth releasing slaves, plundering and burni ng. Lucullus,
the governor of 103, def eated the hord e, but failed to storm
the rebel stronghold at Triocala. For this he was later
tried at Rome on the preposterous charge of having ac-
cepted bribes, and banished. Servilius, the governor of 102,
succeeded no better, probably because Rome did not then
dare withdraw troops from the North for his support. In
rn r finally the new governor Aquilius def eated the slaves,
but it requi red two more years to restore peace completely.
Sicily was then a sad spectacle. Unfortuna tely, the expe·
ri ence of the Greek landlords with large slave-worked

plantations in Sicily was not taken to heart by the Roman
farmers in Italy. It was only a generation later that a
similar uprising ha d to be faced in Italy with similar results.

K nights versus Senate.-The emergence of the equestr1an
capi talists as a power ful political group had an even more
ma rked eff ect on home politics. Indeed it changed com-
pl etely the nature of the factional struggle. Gracchus had
used the knights in strengthening the popular pa rty in his
bnttlc with the Senate. Now the knights frequently as-


sumed the off ensive against the Senate, and the
populace, which held the votes, were enticed now by the
one side now by the other to participa te in a struggle
which was fough t over their heads. The contest
cen tered chiefly about the jury panels at :first.
The knights had soon discovered that when their
agents, employed in the taxgathering in Asia, were being
kept in check by the Roman governor, that great official
might be rendered harmless by threa ts of prosecu- tion
before a jury of knights. And the enmity between sen-
ators and knights was such that represent atives of
both sides at times were guilty of instituting court
proceedings on very flimsy cha rges. \i\Te know too well from
experience how in modern city elections candidates
are apt to be charged wi th surprising misdemeanors
just before election day. The senators wished
particularly to wrench this weapon from the hands of
the knights. Accordingly, in 106, Servilius Caepio
propos ed a bill to the assembly admit- ting senators to
the jury panels. In order to secure the popular vote,
he and his friends claimed th at the measure was i n
reality democratic, that the true friend s of the people were
af ter all the Senate, and th at the knights had grown to
be a power in the state that th rea tened to override the
constitu tion and set up a ven al poli tica l dictatorship. This

argu men t succeeded and t he law was passed. Un

for his cause, Scrvilius Cacpio soon af ter comm itted a
bad blL111clcr, there by causing a revulsion of popular f
eeling against h is law. As we have seen, h e sl L1bbornly
refused while proconsul in Gaul to aid his superi or, the
popular con- sul Manlius, when the latter was attacked by
the Cimbri, in consequence of wh ich the Roman forces
were disgracefu lly defeated. In the next year, 104, the
knights seized the op- portu ni ty when all of Rome was
excited with grief and rage, and had Servilius removed
from his command and from the Senate; then, employi
ng the services of the dema- gogue Glaucia, they had
Servilius’ law annulled and re. stored the iury panels
to themselves again.


The revolution of Glaucia and Saturninus. This
struggle brought Glaucia and an equally unscrupulous
tribune, Sat- u rninus, into prominence, and the two
conceived the idea of usi ng the coalition of knights and
people in an eff ort to control the government as Gaius
Gracchus had done. They held the knights by thei r
antipathy for the Senate, they pro- posed to strengthen
thei r hold upon the populace by lavish corn laws, and to
ingratiate themselves with Marius-now i n the north-
and his veterans by giving the bonuses which Marius
had suggested that he intended to secure for his
volunteers af ter the war. Accordingly, in 103, they off
ered a plebiscite reducing the price of state-grain from
the mod- erate Gracchan :figure of twenty-five cents the
bushel to th merely nominal price of about four
cents, and a second plebiscite setting aside certain
African lands for distribution

-presum ably to the soldiers who had served under
Marius in Numidia. Senators-who had some scruples
about the
state of the treasury-opposed the laws vigorously. They
issued a decree that the Senate considered the bills
contrary to the interests of the state, and they found
tribunes to issue a veto. But Saturninus, reviving the
Graccha n theory tha t the assembly represented the
sovereign will of Rome, put the measures to a vote and
had them passed. Rome was again a pure democracy for
at least two years.

In 101 Marius returned to Rome a great popular
hero after the final def eat of the Cimbri and Teutones. He
was elected consul for the sixth time despite all
constitutional prohibitions aga inst reelection to that
high office. There
was no excuse in milita ry exigencies for this reelection,
and his friends asserted that he tried to avoid it. The
reason why he did not absolutely refuse lay perhaps in
his desire to see that his soldiers should have their
promised rewa rd- a consequence of his method of
levying volunteers. He was,
however, no leader of men in political contests, nor was

a man of statesmanlike vision. Unaccus!.omed to
dealing wi th men except by military means, cumbersome
of speech,


slow of though t, un trained in political maneuvering, he was
soon outwitted by the poli ticians who had remained at home
learning the game of the Forum while he was def ending
Rome’s frontiers. Glaucia and Saturninus, off ering to carry

out his program, employed their visible influence with the
popular hero for their own ends.

In the legisla tion of the year 100 Saturninus played the
leading role because he was tribune and could summon the
popular assembly, but it is likely that Glaucia, the praetor,
was the movi ng spiri t. Several measures were illegally

-combined, i t seems, in an omnibus bill (lex satura ) . One
was a le.”C de majestate, which affirmed the complete
SOY· ereignty of the populace, its pu rpose being to
destroy the claim of the Senate tha t tha t body had a right
to decla re plebisci tes void on technical grounds, as it had
done in 103. Other bills appropria ted lands in Gaul for
distribu tion to veterans and also authorized the founding
of colonies. Finally there was a clause-which seems to
have been used now for the first time-condemning any
and every sen- ator or magistra te who refused to take an
oath that he would support the law. This clause struck at
the very basis of liberal government, and even Marius
refused at first to take the oath, advisi ng the Senate also to
ref use. But the democra tic coaliti on was too well orga n
ized to break. When the appointed day came Ma ri us
yielded and all others wi th him except Metellus, who won u
ndying fame by choos- ing exile. The senators
accused Marius of having merely pretended to refuse in
order to entice his enemy Metellus into an attitude that
would cause his exile. I t is, however,
more likely that Marius had miscalcula ted his own influence
with his pa rty, and that when he found his obstruction of

no avail he weakly yielded in order to save the little power
that was lef t him.

The crisis in the contest came finally at election time.
Saturninus ran for the tribuneship again and was elected.
Glaucia stood for the consulship. The equites now being


f rightened by the revolutiona ry tactics of the men were
inclined to vote for Memmius, a more moderate democrat.
J\t the voting the partisans of the two candidates f ell to
rioti ng, and Memmius was found dead in the Forum. This
was too much. The Senate gathered hastily and passed the
dread senatus consultum ultimum, which decla red martial
law and gave the consuls dictatorial powers. Marius hesi-
tated, for he knew that he was practically being called upon

to issue orders to execute his former associates. His sol-
dier’s instinct, however, convinced him tha t the time had
come for executive intervention if the government was to
he respected. Hundreds of citizens were summoned-since
Rome had no regula r police-to accept arms from the pub-
lic armory and to surround the lawless elements supporting
the two demagogues in the Forum. Saturninus and Glau-
cia were driven to the Capitol and then induced by Marius
to take refuge in the senate house, where the consul hoped
to keep them till order could be restored. But his com-
mands were no longer obeyed. The armed depu ties stormed
the senate-house, a procedure in which even senators and
knights were said to have participated, and Glaucia, Sat-
urninus, and several followers were slain outright. The
Senate gave its sanction to the act by rewarding a slave
with citizenship on proof that he had given the death blow
to Saturninus. Marius ended his term of office as best he
could, and then set out for the East to take a long vacation,
disliked by the populace for havi ng deserted his party, de-
spised by the Senate for his vacillation and political in-

For ten years there was peace at home and abroad while
the Senate proceeded to strengthen its posi tion in the gov-
ernment. The conservative consuls of 98 secured the ap-
proval of a law forbidding the proposal of “omnibus bills”

-the favorite device of demagogues forming “blocs”-and
also reaffirmed the old rule that all bills must be posted
three market days before being voted upon. This was the


le.”< Caecilia-Didia, which later tribunes so of ten disrc.
garded. The consul s of 95, L. Licinius Crassus and Q.
Mucius Scaevola, undert ook to check the usurpation of cit·
izenship on the part of Italians. Their law, the famou s
lex Licinia-M ucia, instituted a special court to discover
aliens wh o had i llegally entered their names on the citizen.
rolls, and to send them to their respective communities. It
is very likely that this was meant in part to weaken the un-

ruly elemen t in the assemblies. The eff ects of the law were
far-reaching, for the banished culprits returned home to
lead the agitation for unive rsal Italian suff rage. That same
year lead ing senators made use of the recently passed dem-
ocra tic lex de maj estate to punish Norba nus, who had been
instrumental in having the jury panels returned to the
knights in 104. The knights two years later retorted by
trumping up false charges of misgovernment against Ru-
tilius Rufus, who, as legatus of Scaevola, in Asia, had done
his utmost to secure justice for the provincials against the
oppression of the taxgatherers. The jury of capitalists in
this instance cast a straight party vote and banished one of
the noblest R omans of the day. Thus it was that the knights
and senators proceeded by their own petty quarrels to dis-

rupt the uni on which the d isasters of the year r oo had so
fortunately created for them.

The legislation of Dmsus. In 9 IM. Livius
Drusus, a tribun e, and son of the Dru sus who broke the
power of Gaius Gracchus, finally attempted, by m aking
use of the unpopularity of the capitalistic courts, to
restore the jury panels to the sena tors. He knew, of
course, tha t the con- test over his bill would be vehement.
He therefore un- dertook to win the voting populace by
sops in the form of corn laws and colonial distribu tion s,
and to weaken the cap- italists’ opposition by providin g th
at 300 knights should

be admitted outright into the Sena te. This last measure,
he claimed, would still give the knights half of the seats
on the juries. The com{?romise, however, pleased few.


Th e Senate thought it possible to carry the judicial law
wi thou t making concessions; the knights were shr ewd
rn ough to see that the chosen 300 would soon unite
their f ortunes with the nobles and that af ter a f ew years the
rqucstrian order would pra ctically stand unrepresented in
t h e courts. Consequently an eff ective group in the Senate

.111d a large group of the knights-represented as it hap-
pened by the consul Philippus-raised such opposition to
t li e bill that it could not be put to a vote for many months.
They were able to impress tht> populace by rei terating the
charge (which proved true ) that Drusus had secretly prom-
i sed the Italians his hearty support in their contest for cit-
i zenship. In fact Philippus read a copy of an alleged oath
taken, he said, by many secret clubs of Italians who bound

themselves to support all 111easures of Drusus even by rev-
olutiona ry means .

Drusus, now near the end of his year of office, off ered

more inducements for popular votes. Among the rest he
promised to inflate and cheapen money by i ssu ing an abun-
dance of fiat currency in the form of silver-washed coins
with which to meet the expenses of the corn laws. It is
very likely that Rome’s currency was too rigid and that it
needed some expansion , but aside from the fact that in for-
eign trade all coins were weighed and, therefore, useless
unless honest, Rome had no convenient way of redeeming
fia t money since there was no citizen tax. It was an ill-
considered experiment, and was tried only once again dur-
ing the Republic.

By the aid of such popular measures Drusus at last se-

cured a favorable vote from the assembly, but he had by
then included in his bill so much that was distasteful to the
Sena te as well as to the capitalists that the Senate found it
safe to declare his law illegal on technical grounds and it
did not go into eff ect.

Drusus, nothing daunted, introduced his bill for the en-

franchisement of all Italians, as he had promised that he


would do. It is very doubtful whether this excellent meas,
ure could have passed had it been brought to a vote. The
people of Rome had discovered their power and were hardly
willing to sha re it with a mass of people that might outvote
them in such measu res as corn laws. The Roman knights
had no desire to share their control of the courts and thei r
privileges i n tax-gathering corporations with Italian cap-
italists. Th e senatorial families formed a close and small

body tha t coul<l under the present system usually secure the
high offices of state for their own members. They were
not incli ned to invi te the nobility of the Italian municipali-
ties to pa r tici pa te i n these offices. And yet the argument
for en franchisement was so reasonable tha t many senators
supported Drusus in this instance. They knew tha t while
the Italian allies were now providing more than half of
Rome’s armies they secured none of the high offices of state,
had no share in determining Rome’s policies and obtained
very little of the public land th a t accrued to the state from
conquests. They knew also th at Roman generals and offi-
cials frequently abused and bullied allied soldiers and civil-
ians who of course had no right of appeal to the popular
assembly, and that in court proceed ings between Romans
and allies, the cases were tried:)y Roma n judges. Finally,
since the days when Fregcliae had been suppressed for
her revolt, the f eel i ng of discon tent had grown intense
throughou t Italy, and some senators were pr udent enough
to see that a civi l war might resu l t u n less ju stice were done.
However, before the bill could be introduced, Drusus was

slain by an unknown assassin, and no one ventured to con-
tinue his work.



The Social War, 90-89 B. C. The news of Drusus’
death spread consternation through Italy. The allies
t hought their last opportunity of acquiring citizenship by
peacefu l methods gone. The clubs formed throughout
Italy for the moral support of Drusus began to discuss
revolutionary means, and not a f ew collected arms and
began to drill in secret. The Senate hearing rumors of
this activity sent out officials to var ious towns to pacify
the people. One of these, Servilius, assigned to the district
of Picenum, so enraged the people of Asculum by his tact-
lessness that they murde red him, and wi th him all the
Romans in the city. The news of this event was followed

hy a general revolt and Rome faced her first grea t revo-

Not all of Italy took up arms, however. The Sabines,

Aequians, and Campanians were citizens and therefore
remained loyal to Rome. The Latin colonies contained
numerous citizens because of the old provision whereby
magistrates of such colonies were ipso facto enfranchised.
Hence the colonies also remained loyal. ·Most . of the
Greek cities also, from Naples to Tarentum, h ad benefited
so freely by Rome’s commercial treaties that they remained
friendly. The tribes that revolted were the eight which
used Oscan and Sabellic dialects : the Marsi, Paeligni, Mar-
rucini, Frentani, Samnites, and Lucan ians, and the remnants
of the Vesti ni and Picentes that had not been incorporated
in to the Roman state. It is to be noticed that the Etrus-
cans, who were of a different race, and the Umbrians, who
spoke a different Italic dialect, did not join in the first