The aristocratic origin of Rome, the struggle between the patricians and the plebeians, the laws of the XII.
He entrusted them to the care of two patricians; after 367 B.C. ten custodians were appointed, five patricians and five plebeians; subsequently (probably in the time of Sulla) their number was increased to fifteen.
She was worshipped almost exclusively by plebeians, and her temple near the Circus Maximus was under the care of the plebeian aediles, one of whose duties was the superintendence of the corn-market.
In the first the plebeians strive to obtain relief from laws and customs which were actually oppressive to them, while they were profitable to the patricians.
When this relief has been gained by a series of enactments, a second struggle follows, in which the plebeians win political equality with the patricians.
Then one law admitted plebeians to one office, another law to another.
Patricians and plebeians went on as orders defined by law, till the distinction died out in the confusion of things under the empire, till at last the word "patrician" took quite a new meaning.
Both consuls might be plebeians, both could not be patricians; a patrician could not wield the great powers vested in the tribunes of the commons.
They separated themselves from the mass of the plebeians to form a single body with the surviving patricians.
Just as the old patricians had striven to keep plebeians out of high offices, so now the new nobles, patrician and plebeian alike, strove to keep "new men," men who had not the jus imaginum, out of high office.
In a certain sense he knew better; at any rate, he often repeats the words of those who knew better; but the general impression given by his story is that the plebeians were a low mob and their leaders factious and interested ringleaders of a mob.
But we see no sign of the growth of a body made up of patricians and leading plebeians who contrived to keep office to themselves by a social tradition only less strong than positive law.
The Catuli and Metelli, among the proudest nobles of Rome, were plebeians, and as such could not have been chosen to the purely patrician office of interrex, or of Jupiter.
But something like a new nobility presently grew up among the commons themselves; there were popolani grossi at Florence just as there were noble plebeians at Rome.
Again, as Romulus was the author of the patrician groundwork of the constitution, so Servius was regarded as the originator of a new classification of the people, which laid the foundation of the gradual political enfranchisement of the plebeians (for the constitutional alterations with which his name is associated, see Rome: Ancient History; for the Servian Wall see Rome: Archaeology).
During his tribuneship (232 B.C.), in spite of the determined opposition of the senate and his own father, he carried a measure for distributing among the plebeians the alter Gallicus Picenus, an extensive tract of newly-acquired territory to the south of Ariminum (Cicero, De senectute, 4, Brutus, 14).
Though patrician in sympathy, he saw the necessity of making concessions to the plebeians and was instrumental in passing the Licinian laws.
Meanwhile fresh discords were brewing among the plebeians at the head of affairs.
They were created in the same year as the tribunes of the people (494 B.C.), their persons were sacrosanct or inviolable, and (at least after 471) they were elected at the Comitia Tributa out of the plebeians alone.
42), after the passing of the Licinian rogations, an extra day was added to the Roman games; the aediles refused to bear the additional expense, whereupon the patricians offered to undertake it, on condition that they were admitted to the aedileship. The plebeians accepted the offer, and accordingly two " curule "aediles were appointed - at first from the patricians alone, then from patricians and plebeians in turn, lastly, from either - at the Comitia Tributa under the presidency of the consul.
And it is instructive to observe that when the plebeians extorted their full share of political power they also demanded and obtained admission to every priestly college of political importance, to those, namely, of the pontiffs, the augurs, and the XV viri sacrorum.
But no sooner was the new body in office, than it treated both patricians and plebeians with equal violence, and refused to resign at the end of the year.
In spite of his political reforms, he opposed the admission of the plebeians to the consulship and priestly offices; and, although these reforms might appear to be democratic in character and calculated to give preponderance to the lowest class of the people, his probable aim was to strengthen the power of the magistrates (and lessen that of the senate) by founding it on the popular will, which would find its expression in the urban inhabitants and could be most easily influenced by the magistrate.
A third statute disqualified plebeians from being elected to canonries or bishoprics.
"The main results," says Leonhard Schmitz, "arrived at by the inquiries of Niebuhr, such as his views of the ancient population of Rome, the origin of the plebs, the relation between the patricians and plebeians, the real nature of the ager publicus, and many other points of interest, have been acknowledged by all his successors."
By his theory of the disputes between the patricians and plebeians arising from original differences of race he drew attention to the immense importance of ethnological distinctions, and contributed to the revival of these divergences as factors in modern history.
In the first place the plebeians gained full rights of ownership and transfer, and could thus become freeholders of the land which they occupied and of the appurtenances of this land (res mancipi) .
The most important results will be found stated at the outset of the articles Rome: History (the chief being that the Plebeians of Rome probably consisted of Latins and the Patricians of Sabines), Liguria, Siculi and Aricia.
Continued agitation to this effect resulted in an agreement in 452 B.C. between patricians and plebeians that decemvirs should be appointed to draw up a code, that during their tenure of office all other magistracies should be in abeyance, that they should not be subject to appeal, but that they should be bound to maintain the laws which guaranteed by religious sanctions the rights of the plebs.
Mommsen, however, held that plebeians were legally eligible, though none were actually appointed for 451.
We have long known that the connubium was the cause of a long and determined struggle between the patricians and the plebeians in Rome.
From the earliest period known to us the free population of Rome contains two elements, patricians and plebeians, the former class enjoying all political privileges, the latter unprivileged.
The plebeians (plebs, plebes) are the complement (from root pleo, fill, see Plebs) of the noble families possessing a genealogy, and include all the free population other than the patricians.
First, in the struggle between the two orders for political privilege we find the clients struggling on the side of the patricians against the main body of the plebeians (Livy ii.
This is perhaps the explanation of the strange fact that the clients, who through their patrons were attached to these clans, obtained political recognition as early as the plebeians who had no such semiservile taint.
At the time of the Servian reforms both branches of the plebs had a plausible claim to recognition as members of the state, the clients as already partial members of the curia and the gees, the unattached plebeians as equally free with the patricians and possessing clans of their own as solid and united as the recognized gentes.
But not only can it be shown that patricians and plebeians coexisted as distinct orders in the Roman state at an earlier date than the evolution of citizenship by the clients.
It has further been established on strong archaeological and linguistic evidence that the long struggle between patricians and plebeians in early Rome was the result of a racial difference between them.
The absurdity of excluding the plebeians from all but a merely theoretical citizenship, based on the negative fact of freedom, seems to have become apparent before the close of the monarchical period.
The struggle was inaugurated by the plebeians, who in 494 B.C. formed themselves into an exclusive order with annually elected officers (iribuni plebis) and an assembly of their own, and by means of this machinery forced themselves by degrees into all the magistracies, and obtained the coveted right of intermarriage with the patricians.
The explanation of this is that the plebeians had long been organized, like the patricians, in genies, and nothing remained distinctive of the old nobility except a vague sense of dignity and worth.
The cheek-bones are high; the nose inclined to flatness; the mouth thin-lipped and refined among patricians, and wide and full-lipped among plebeians; the ears are small, and the brow fairly well developed.
A persistent opponent of the plebeians, he resisted the proposal of Terentilius Arsa (or Harsa) to draw up a code of written laws applicable equally to patricians and plebeians.
Actual history exhibits the conflict of two great principles, which may be said to be realized in the patricians and plebeians of Rome.
Annalists of the Gracchan age imported into the early struggles of patricians and plebeians the economic controversies of their own day, and painted the first tribunes in the colours of the two Gracchi or of Saturninus.
Christian revenged himself by executing the magnate Torben Oxe, who, on very creditable evidence, was supposed to have been Dyveke's murderer, despite the strenuous opposition of Oxe's fellow-peers; and henceforth the king lost no opportunity of depressing the nobility and raising plebeians to power.