The Common People of Ancient Rome
Frank Frost Abbott
Part 3 out of 4
case as this, and we should justify the Roman's action on the score of
practical common sense. We have organizations for almost every conceivable
political, social, literary, and economic purpose. In fact, it would be
hard to mention an object for which it would not be possible to organize a
club, a society, a league, a guild, or a union. In a similar way the
Romans had organizations of capitalists and laborers, religious
associations, political and social clubs, and leagues of veterans.
So far as organizations of capitalists are concerned, their history is
closely bound up with that of imperialism. They come to our notice for the
first time during the wars with Carthage, when Rome made her earliest
acquisitions outside of Italy. In his account of the campaigns in Spain
against Hannibal's lieutenants, Livy tells us of the great straits to
which the Roman army was reduced for its pay, food, and clothing. The need
was urgent, but the treasury was empty, and the people poverty-stricken.
In this emergency the prætor called a public meeting, laid before it the
situation in Spain, and, appealing to the joint-stock companies to come to
the relief of the state, appointed a day when proposals could be made to
furnish what was required by the army. On the appointed day three
_societates_, or corporations, offered to make the necessary loans to the
government; their offers were accepted, and the needs of the army were
met. The transaction reminds us of similar emergencies in our civil war,
when syndicates of bankers came to the support of the government. The
present-day tendency to question the motives of all corporations dealing
with the government does not seem to color Livy's interpretation of the
incident, for he cites it in proof of the patriotic spirit which ran
through all classes in the face of the struggle with Carthage. The
appearance of the joint-stock company at the moment when the policy of
territorial expansion is coming to the front is significant of the close
connection which existed later between imperialism and corporate finance,
but the later relations of corporations to the public interests cannot
always be interpreted in so charitable a fashion.
Our public-service companies find no counter-part in antiquity, but the
Roman societies for the collection of taxes bear a resemblance to these
modern organizations of capital in the nature of the franchises, as we
may call them, and the special privileges which they had. The practice
which the Roman government followed of letting out to the highest bidder
the privilege of collecting the taxes in each of the provinces, naturally
gave a great impetus to the development of companies organized for this
purpose. Every new province added to the Empire opened a fresh field for
capitalistic enterprise, in the way not only of farming the taxes, but
also of loaning money, constructing public works, and leasing the mines
belonging to the state, and Roman politicians must have felt these
financial considerations steadily pushing them on to further conquests.
But the interest of the companies did not end when Roman eagles had been
planted in a new region. It was necessary to have the provincial
government so managed as to help the agents of the companies in making as
much money as possible out of the provincials, and Cicero's year as
governor of Cilicia was made almost intolerable by the exactions which
these agents practised on the Cilicians, and the pressure which they
brought to bear upon him and his subordinates. His letters to his intimate
friend, Atticus, during this period contain pathetic accounts of the
embarrassing situations in which loaning companies and individual
capitalists at Rome placed him. On one occasion a certain Scaptius came to
him, armed with a strong letter of recommendation from the impeccable
Brutus, and asked to be appointed prefect of Cyprus. His purpose was, by
official pressure, to squeeze out of the people of Salamis, in Cyprus, a
debt which they owed, running at forty-eight per cent interest. Upon
making some inquiry into the previous history of Scaptius, Cicero learned
that under his predecessor in Cilicia, this same Scaptius had secured an
appointment as prefect of Cyprus, and backed by his official power, to
collect money due his company, had shut up the members of the Salaminian
common council in their town hall until five of them died of starvation.
In domestic politics the companies played an equally important rôle. The
relations which existed between the "interests" and political leaders were
as close in ancient times as they are to-day, and corporations were as
unpartisan in Rome in their political alliances as they are in the United
States. They impartially supported the democratic platforms of Gaius
Gracchus and Julius Cæsar in return for valuable concessions, and backed
the candidacy of the constitutionalist Pompey for the position of
commander-in-chief of the fleets and armies acting against the Eastern
pirates, and against Mithridates, in like expectation of substantial
returns for their help. What gave the companies their influence at the
polls was the fact that their shares were very widely held by voters.
Polybius, the Greek historian, writing of conditions at Rome in the second
century B.C., gives us to understand that almost every citizen owned
shares in some joint-stock company. Poor crops in Sicily, heavy rains
in Sardinia, an uprising in Gaul, or "a strike" in the Spanish mines would
touch the pocket of every middle-class Roman.
In these circumstances it is hard to see how the Roman got on without
stock quotations in the newspapers. But Cæsar's publication of the _Acta
Diurna_, or proceedings of the senate and assembly, would take the place
of our newspapers in some respects, and the crowds which gathered at the
points where these documents were posted, would remind us of the throngs
collected in front of the bulletin in the window of a newspaper office
when some exciting event has occurred. Couriers were constantly arriving
from the agents of corporations in Gaul, Spain, Africa, and Asia with the
latest news of industrial and financial enterprises in all these sections.
What a scurrying of feet there must have been through the streets when the
first news reached Rome of the insurrection of the proletariat in Asia in
88 B.C., and of the proclamation of Mithridates guaranteeing release from
half of their obligations to all debtors who should kill money-lenders!
Asiatic stocks must have dropped almost to the zero point. We find no
evidence of the existence of an organized stock exchange. Perhaps none was
necessary, because the shares of stock do not seem to have been
transferable, but other financial business arising out of the organization
of these companies, like the loaning of money on stock, could be
transacted reasonably well in the row of banking offices which ran along
one side of the Forum, and made it an ancient Wall Street or Lombard
"Trusts" founded to control prices troubled the Romans, as they trouble
us to-day. There is an amusing reference to one of these trade
combinations as early as the third century before our era in the Captives
of Plautus. The parasite in the play has been using his best quips
and his most effective leads to get an invitation to dinner, but he can't
provoke a smile, to say nothing of extracting an invitation. In a high
state of indignation he threatens to prosecute the men who avoid being his
hosts for entering into an unlawful combination like that of "the oil
dealers in the Velabrum." Incidentally it is a rather interesting
historical coincidence that the pioneer monopoly in Rome, as in our day,
was an oil trust--in the time of Plautus, of course, an olive-oil trust.
In the "Trickster," which was presented in 191 B.C., a character refers to
the mountains of grain which the dealers had in their warehouses. Two
years later the "corner" had become so effective that the government
intervened, and the curule ædiles who had charge of the markets imposed a
heavy fine on the grain speculators. The case was apparently
prosecuted under the Laws of the Twelve Tables of 450 B.C., the Magna
Charta of Roman liberty. It would seem, therefore, that combinations in
restraint of trade were formed at a very early date in Rome, and perhaps
Diocletian's attempt in the third century of our era to lower the cost of
living by fixing the prices of all sorts of commodities was aimed in part
at the same evil. As for government ownership, the Roman state made one or
two essays in this field, notably in the case of mines, but with
Labor was as completely organized as capital. In fact the passion of
the Romans for association shows itself even more clearly here, and it
would be possible to write their industrial history from a study of their
trades-unions. The story of Rome carries the founding of these guilds back
to the early days of the regal period. From the investigations of
Waltzing, Liebenam, and others their history can be made out in
considerable detail. Roman tradition was delightfully systematic in
assigning the founding of one set of institutions to one king and of
another group to another king. Romulus, for instance, is the war king, and
concerns himself with military and political institutions. The second
king, Numa, is a man of peace, and is occupied throughout his reign with
the social and religious organization of his people. It was Numa who
established guilds of carpenters, dyers, shoemakers, tanners, workers in
copper and gold, fluteplayers, and potters. The critical historian looks
with a sceptical eye on the story of the kings, and yet this list of
trades is just what we should expect to find in primitive Rome. There are
no bakers or weavers, for instance, in the list. We know that in our own
colonial days the baking, spinning, and weaving were done at home, as they
would naturally have been when Rome was a community of shepherds and
farmers. As Roman civilization became more complex, industrial
specialization developed, and the number of guilds grew, but during the
Republic we cannot trace their growth very successfully for lack of
information about them. Corporations, as we have seen, played an
important part in politics, and their doings are chronicled in the
literature, like oratory and history, which deals with public questions,
but the trades-guilds had little share in politics; they were made up of
the obscure and weak, and consequently are rarely mentioned in the
writings of a Cicero or a Livy.
It is only when the general passion for setting down records of all sorts
of enterprises and incidents on imperishable materials came in with the
Empire that the story of the Roman trades-union can be clearly followed.
It is a fortunate thing for us that this mania swept through the Roman
Empire, because it has given us some twenty-five hundred inscriptions
dealing with these organizations of workmen. These inscriptions disclose
the fact that there were more than eighty different trades organized into
guilds in the city of Rome alone. They included skilled and unskilled
laborers, from the porters, or _saccarii_, to the goldsmiths, or
_aurifices_. The names of some of them, like the _pastillarii_, or guild
of pastile-makers, and the _scabillarii_, or castanet-players, indicate a
high degree of industrial specialization. From one man's tombstone even
the conclusion seems to follow that he belonged to a union of what we may
perhaps call checker-board makers. The merchants formed trade associations
freely. Dealers in oil, in wine, in fish, and in grain are found organized
all over the Empire. Even the perfumers, hay-dealers, and ragmen had their
societies. No line of distinction seems to be drawn between the artist and
the artisan. The mason and the sculptor were classed in the same category
by Roman writers, so that we are not surprised to find unions of men in
both occupations. A curious distinction between the professions is also
brought out by these guild inscriptions. There are unions made up of
physicians, but none of lawyers, for the lawyer in early times was
supposed to receive no remuneration for his services. In point of fact the
physician was on a lower social plane in Rome than he was even among our
ancestors. The profession was followed almost exclusively by Greek
freedmen, as we can see from the records on their tombstones, and was
highly specialized, if we may judge from the epitaphs of eye and ear
doctors, surgeons, dentists, and veterinarians. To the same category with
the physician and sculptor belong the architect, the teacher, and the
chemist. Men of these professions pursued the _artes liberales_, as the
Romans put it, and constituted an aristocracy among those engaged in the
trades or lower professions. Below them in the hierarchy came those who
gained a livelihood by the _artes ludicræ_, like the actor, professional
dancer, juggler, or gladiator, and in the lowest caste were the
carpenters, weavers, and other artisans whose occupations were _artes
vulgares et sordidæ_.
In the early part of this chapter the tendency of the Romans to form
voluntary associations was noted as a national characteristic. This fact
comes out very clearly if we compare the number of trades-unions in the
Western world with those in Greece and the Orient. Our conclusions must be
drawn of course from the extant inscriptions which refer to guilds, and
time may have dealt more harshly with the stones in one place than in
another, or the Roman government may have given its consent to the
establishment of such organizations with more reluctance in one province
than another; but, taking into account the fact that we have guild
inscriptions from four hundred and seventy-five towns and villages in the
Empire, these elements of uncertainty in our conclusions are practically
eliminated, and a fair comparison may be drawn between conditions in the
East and the West. If we pick out some of the more important towns in the
Greek part of the Roman world, we find five guilds reported from Tralles
in Caria, six from Smyrna, one from Alexandria, and eleven from Hierapolis
in Phrygia. On the other hand, in the city of Rome there were more than
one hundred, in Brixia (modern Brescia) seventeen or more, in Lugudunum
(Lyons) twenty at least, and in Canabæ, in the province of Dacia, five.
These figures, taken at random for some of the larger towns in different
parts of the Empire, bring out the fact very clearly that the western and
northern provinces readily accepted Roman ideas and showed the Roman
spirit, as illustrated in their ability and willingness to co-operate for
a common purpose, but that the Greek East was never Romanized. Even in the
settlements in Dacia, which continued under Roman rule only from 107 to
270 A.D., we find as many trades-unions as existed in Greek towns which
were held by the Romans for three or four centuries. The comparative
number of guilds and of guild inscriptions would, in fact, furnish us
with a rough test of the extent to which Rome impressed her civilization
on different parts of the Empire, even if we had no other criteria. We
should know, for instance, that less progress had been made in Britain
than in Southern Gaul, that Salona in Dalmatia, Lugudunum in Gaul, and
Mogontiacum (Mainz) in Germany were important centres of Roman
civilization. It is, of course, possible from a study of these
inscriptions to make out the most flourishing industries in the several
towns, but with that we are not concerned here.
These guilds which we have been considering were trades-unions in the
sense that they were organizations made up of men working in the same
trade, but they differed from modern unions, and also from mediaeval
guilds, in the objects for which they were formed. They made no attempt to
raise wages, to improve working conditions, to limit the number of
apprentices, to develop skill and artistic taste in the craft, or to
better the social or political position of the laborer. It was the need
which their members felt for companionship, sympathy, and help in the
emergencies of life, and the desire to give more meaning to their lives,
that drew them together. These motives explain the provisions made for
social gatherings, and for the burial of members, which were the
characteristic features of most of the organizations. It is the social
side, for instance, which is indicated on a tombstone, found in a little
town of central Italy. After giving the name of the deceased, it reads:
"He bequeathed to his guild, the rag-dealers, a thousand sesterces, from
the income of which each year, on the festival of the Parentalia, not less
than twelve men shall dine at his tomb." Another in northern Italy
reads: "To Publius Etereius Quadratus, the son of Publius, of the _Tribus
Quirina_, Etereia Aristolais, his mother, has set up a statue, at whose
dedication she gave the customary banquet to the union of rag-dealers, and
also a sum of money, from the income of which annually, from this time
forth, on the birthday of Quadratus, April 9, where his remains have been
laid, they should make a sacrifice, and should hold the customary banquet
in the temple, and should bring roses in their season and cover and crown
the statue; which thing they have undertaken to do." The menu of one
of these dinners given in Dacia has come down to us. It includes lamb
and pork, bread, salad, onions, and two kinds of wine. The cost of the
entertainment amounted to one hundred and sixty-nine _denarii_, or about
twenty-seven dollars, a sum which would probably have a purchasing value
to-day of from three to four times that amount.
The "temple" or chapel referred to in these inscriptions was usually
semicircular, and may have served as a model for the Christian oratories.
The building usually stood in a little grove, and, with its accommodations
for official meetings and dinners, served the same purpose as a modern
club-house. Besides the special gatherings for which some deceased member
or some rich patron provided, the guild met at fixed times during the year
to dine or for other social purposes. The income of the society, which was
made up of the initiation fees and monthly dues of the members, and of
donations, was supplemented now and then by a system of fines. At least,
in an African inscription we read: "In the Curia of Jove. Done November
27, in the consulship of Maternus and Atticus.... If any one shall wish to
be a flamen, he shall give three amphorae of wine, besides bread and salt
and provisions. If any one shall wish to be a magister, he shall give two
amphorae of wine.... If any one shall have spoken disrespectfully to a
flamen, or laid hands upon him, he shall pay two denarii.... If any one
shall have gone to fetch wine, and shall have made away with it, he shall
give double the amount."
The provision which burial societies made for their members is illustrated
by the following epitaph:
"To the shade of Gaius Julius Filetio, born in Africa, a physician, who
lived thirty-five years. Gaius Julius Filetus and Julia Euthenia, his
parents, have erected it to their very dear son. Also to Julius
Athenodorus, his brother, who lived thirty-five years. Euthenia set it up.
He has been placed here, to whose burial the guild of rag-dealers has
contributed three hundred denarii." People of all ages have craved a
respectable burial, and the pathetic picture which Horace gives us in one
of his Satires of the fate which befell the poor and friendless at the
end of life, may well have led men of that class to make provisions which
would protect them from such an experience, and it was not an unnatural
thing for these organizations to be made up of men working in the same
trade. The statutes of several guilds have come down to us. One found at
Lanuvium has articles dealing particularly with burial regulations. They
read in part:
"It has pleased the members, that whoever shall wish to join this guild
shall pay an initiation fee of one hundred sesterces, and an amphora of
good wine, as well as five _asses_ a month. Voted likewise, that if any
man shall not have paid his dues for six consecutive months, and if the
lot common to all men has befallen him, his claim to a burial shall not be
considered, even if he shall have so stipulated in his will. Voted
likewise, that if any man from this body of ours, having paid his dues,
shall depart, there shall come to him from the treasury three hundred
sesterces, from which sum fifty sesterces, which shall be divided at the
funeral pyre, shall go for the funeral rites. Furthermore, the obsequies
shall be performed on foot."
Besides the need of comradeship, and the desire to provide for a
respectable burial, we can see another motive which brought the weak and
lowly together in these associations. They were oppressed by the sense of
their own insignificance in society, and by the pitifully small part which
they played in the affairs of the world. But if they could establish a
society of their own, with concerns peculiar to itself which they would
administer, and if they could create positions of honor and importance in
this organization, even the lowliest man in Rome would have a chance to
satisfy that craving to exercise power over others which all of us feel,
to hold titles and distinctions, and to wear the insignia of office and
rank. This motive worked itself out in the establishment of a complete
hierarchy of offices, as we saw in part in an African inscription given
above. The Roman state was reproduced in miniature in these societies,
with their popular assemblies, and their officials, who bore the honorable
titles of quæstor, curator, prætor, ædile, and so forth.
To read these twenty-five hundred or more inscriptions from all parts of
the Empire brings us close to the heart of the common people. We see
their little ambitions, their jealousies, their fears, their gratitude for
kindness, their own kindliness, and their loyalty to their fellows. All of
them are anxious to be remembered after death, and provide, when they can
do so, for the celebration of their birthdays by members of the
association. A guild inscription in Latium, for instance, reads:
"Jan. 6, birthday of Publius Claudius Veratius Abascantianus, [who has
contributed] 6,000 sesterces, [paying an annual interest of] 180 denarii."
"Jan. 25, birthday of Gargilius Felix, [who has contributed] 2,000
sesterces, [paying an annual interest of] 60 denarii," and so on through
the twelve months of the year.
It is not entirely clear why the guilds never tried to bring pressure to
bear on their employers to raise wages, or to improve their position by
means of the strike, or by other methods with which we are familiar
to-day. Perhaps the difference between the ancient and modern methods of
manufacture helps us to understand this fact. In modern times most
articles can be made much more cheaply by machinery than by hand, and the
use of water-power, of steam, and of electricity, and the invention of
elaborate machines, has led us to bring together a great many workmen
under one roof or in one factory. The men who are thus employed in a
single establishment work under common conditions, suffer the same
disadvantages, and are brought into such close relations with one another
that common action to improve their lot is natural. In ancient times, as
may be seen in the chapter on Diocletian's edict, machinery was almost
unknown, and artisans worked singly in their own homes or in the houses of
their employers, so that joint action to improve their condition would
hardly be expected.
Another factor which should probably be taken into account is the
influence of slavery. This institution did not play the important rôle
under the Empire in depressing the free laborer which it is often supposed
to have played, because it was steadily dying out; but an employer could
always have recourse to slave labor to a limited extent, and the
struggling freedmen who had just come up from slavery were not likely to
urge very strongly their claims for consideration.
In this connection it is interesting to recall the fact that before
slavery got a foothold in Rome, the masses in their struggle with the
classes used what we think of to-day as the most modern weapon employed in
industrial warfare. We can all remember the intense interest with which we
watched the novel experience which St. Petersburg underwent some six years
ago, when the general strike was instituted. And yet, if we accept
tradition, that method of bringing the government and society to terms was
used twice by the Roman proletariat over two thousand years ago. The
plebeians, so the story goes, unable to get their economic and political
rights, stopped work and withdrew from the city to the Sacred Mount. Their
abstention from labor did not mean the going out of street lamps, the
suspension of street-car traffic, and the closing of factories and shops,
but, besides the loss of fighting men, it meant that no more shoes could
be had, no more carpentry work done, and no more wine-jars made until
concessions should be granted. But, having slaves to compete with it, and
with conditions which made organization difficult, free labor could not
hope to rise, and the unions could take no serious step toward the
improvement of the condition of their members. The feeling of security on
this score which society had, warranted the government in allowing even
its own employees to organize, and we find unions of government clerks,
messengers, and others. The Roman government was, therefore, never called
upon to solve the grave political and economic questions which France and
Italy have had to face in late years in the threatened strikes of the
state railway and postal employees.
We have just been noticing how the ancient differed from the modern
trades-union in the objects which it sought to obtain. The religious
character which it took seems equally strange to us at first sight. Every
guild put itself under the protection of some deity and was closely
associated with a cult. Silvanus, the god of the woods, was a natural
favorite with the carpenters, Father Bacchus with the innkeepers, Vesta
with the bakers, and Diana with those who hunted wild animals for the
circus. The reason for the choice of certain other divine patrons is not
so clear. Why the cabmen of Tibur, for instance, picked out Hercules as
their tutelary deity, unless, like Horace in his Satires, the ancient
cabman thought of him as the god of treasure-trove, and, therefore,
likely to inspire the giving of generous tips, we cannot guess. The
religious side of Roman trade associations will not surprise us when we
recall the strong religious bent of the Roman character, and when we
remember that no body of Romans would have thought of forming any kind of
an organization without securing the sanction and protection of the gods.
The family, the clan, the state all had their protecting deities, to whom
appropriate rites were paid on stated occasions. Speaking of the religious
side of these trade organizations naturally reminds one of the religious
associations which sprang up in such large numbers toward the end of the
republican period and under the Empire. They lie outside the scope of this
chapter, but, in the light of the issue which has arisen in recent years
between religious associations and the governments of Italy, France,
Spain, and Portugal, it is interesting to notice in passing that the Roman
state strove to hold in check many of the ancient religious associations,
but not always with much success. As we have noticed, its attitude toward
the trade-guilds was not unfriendly. In the last days of the Republic,
however, they began to enter politics, and were used very effectively in
the elections by political leaders in both parties. In fact the
fortunes of the city seemed likely to be controlled by political clubs,
until severe legislation and the transfer of the elections in the early
Empire from the popular assemblies to the senate put an end to the use of
trade associations for political purposes. It was in the light of this
development that the government henceforth required all newly formed
trades-unions to secure official authorization.
The change in the attitude of the state toward these organizations, as
time went on, has been traced by Liebenam in his study of Roman
associations. The story of this change furnishes an interesting episode in
the history of special privilege, and may not be without profit to us. The
Roman government started with the assumption that the operation of these
voluntary associations was a matter of public as well as of private
concern, and could serve public interests. Therefore their members were to
be exempted from some of the burdens which the ordinary citizen bore. It
was this reasoning, for instance, which led Trajan to set the bakers free
from certain charges, and which influenced Hadrian to grant the same
favors to those associations of skippers which supplied Rome with food. In
the light of our present-day discussion it is interesting also to find
that Marcus Aurelius granted them the right to manumit slaves and receive
legacies--that is, he made them juridical persons. But if these
associations were to be fostered by law, in proportion as they promoted
the public welfare, it also followed logically that the state could put a
restraining hand upon them when their development failed to serve public
interests in the highest degree. Following this logical sequence, the
Emperor Claudius, in his efforts to promote a more wholesome home life, or
for some other reason not known to us, forbade the eating-houses or the
delicatessen shops to sell cooked meats or warm water. Antoninus Pius, in
his paternal care for the unions, prescribed an age test and a physical
test for those who wished to become members. Later, under the law a man
was allowed to join one guild only. Such a legal provision as this was a
natural concomitant of the concession of privileges to the unions. If the
members of these organizations were to receive special favors from the
state, the state must see to it that the rolls were not padded. It must,
in fact, have the right of final supervision of the list of members. So
long as industry flourished, and so long as the population increased, or
at least remained stationary, this oversight by the government brought no
appreciable ill results. But when financial conditions grew steadily
worse, when large tracts of land passed out of cultivation and the
population rapidly dwindled, the numbers in the trades-unions began to
decline. The public services, constantly growing heavier, which the state
required of the guilds in return for their privileges made the loss of
members still greater. This movement threatened the industrial interests
of the Empire and must be checked at all hazards. Consequently, taking
another logical step in the way of government regulation in the interests
of the public, the state forbade men to withdraw from the unions, and made
membership in a union hereditary. Henceforth the carpenter must always
remain a carpenter, the weaver a weaver, and the sons and grandsons of the
carpenter and the weaver must take up the occupation of their fathers, and
a man is bound forever to his trade as the serf is to the soil.
A Roman Politician
(Gaius Scribonius Curio)
The life of Gaius Scribonius Curio has so many points of interest for the
student of Roman politics and society, that one is bewildered by the
variety of situations and experiences which it covers. His private
character is made up of a _mélange_ of contradictory qualities, of
generosity, and profligacy, of sincerity and unscrupulousness. In his
public life there is the same facile change of guiding principles. He is
alternately a follower of Cicero and a supporter of his bitterest enemy, a
Tory and a Democrat, a recognized opponent of Cæsar and his trusted agent
and adviser. His dramatic career stirs Lucan to one of his finest
passages, gives a touch of vigor to the prosaic narrative of Velleius, and
even leads the sedate Pliny to drop into satire. Friend and foe have
helped to paint the picture. Cicero, the counsellor of his youth, writes
of him and to him; Cælius, his bosom friend, analyzes his character;
Cæsar leaves us a record of his military campaigns and death, while
Velleius and Appian recount his public and private sins. His story has
this peculiar charm, that many of the incidents which make it up are
related from day to day, as they occurred, by his contemporaries, Cicero
and Cælius, in the confidential letters which they wrote to their intimate
friends. With all the strange elements which entered into it, however, his
career is not an unusual one for the time in which he lived. Indeed it is
almost typical for the class to which he belonged, and in studying it we
shall come to know something more of that group of brilliant young men,
made up of Cælius, Antony, Dolabella, and others, who were drawn to
Cæsar's cause and played so large a part in bringing him success. The life
of Curio not only illuminates social conditions in the first century
before our era, but it epitomizes and personifies the political history of
his time and the last struggles of the Republic. It brings within its
compass the Catilinarian conspiracy, the agitation of Clodius, the
formation of the first triumvirate, the rivalry of Cæsar and Pompey, and
the civil war, for in all these episodes Curio took an active part.
Students of history have called attention to the striking way in which the
members of certain distinguished Roman families from generation to
generation kept up the political traditions of the family. The Claudian
family is a striking case in point. Recognition of this fact helps us to
understand Curio. His grandfather and his father were both prominent
orators and politicians, as Cicero tells us in his Brutus. The
grandfather reached the praetorship in the year in which Gaius Gracchus
was done to death by his political opponents, while Curio pater was
consul, in 76 B.C., when the confusion which followed the breaking up of
the constitution and of the party of Sulla was at its height. Cicero tells
us that the second Curio had "absolutely no knowledge of letters," but
that he was one of the successful public speakers of his day, thanks to
the training which he had received at home. The third Curio, with whom we
are concerned here, was prepared for public life as his father had been,
for Cicero remarks of him that "although he had not been sufficiently
trained by teachers, he had a rare gift for oratory."
On this point Cicero could speak with authority, because Curio had very
possibly been one of his pupils in oratory and law. At least the very
intimate acquaintance which he has with Curio's character and the
incidents of his life, the fatherly tone of Cicero's letters to him, and
the fact that Curio's nearest friends were among his disciples make this a
natural inference. How intimate this relation was, one can see from the
charming picture which Cicero draws, in the introductory chapters of his
Essay on Friendship, of his own intercourse as a young man with the
learned Augur Scævola. Roman youth attended their counsellor and friend
when he went to the forum to take part in public business, or sat with him
at home discussing matters of public and private interest, as Cicero and
his companions sat on the bench in the garden with the pontiff Scævola,
when he set forth the discourse of Lælius on friendship, and thus, out of
his experience, the old man talked to the young men about him upon the
conduct of life as well as upon the technical points of law and oratory.
So many of the brilliant young politicians of this period had been brought
into close relations with Cicero in this way, that when he found himself
forced out of politics by the Cæsarians, he whimsically writes to his
friend Pætus that he is inclined to give up public life and open a school,
and not more than a year before his death he pathetically complains that
he has not leisure even to take the waters at the spa, because of the
demands which are made upon him for lessons in oratory.
If it did not take us too far from our chosen subject, it would be
interesting to stop and consider at length what effect Cicero's intimate
relations with these young men had upon his character, his political
views, his personal fortunes, and the course of politics. That they kept
him young in his interests and sympathies, that they kept his mind alert
and receptive, comes out clearly in his letters to them, which are full of
jest and raillery and enthusiasm. That he never developed into a Tory, as
Catulus did, or became indifferent to political conditions, as Lucullus
did, may have been due in part to his intimate association with this group
of enthusiastic young politicians. So far as his personal fortunes were
concerned, when the struggle between Cæsar and Pompey came, these former
pupils of Cicero had an opportunity to show their attachment and their
gratitude to him. _They_ were followers of Cæsar, and _he_ cast in his lot
with Pompey. But this made no difference in their relations. To the
contrary, they gave him advice and help; in their most hurried journeys
they found time to visit him, and they interceded with Cæsar in his
behalf. To determine whether he influenced the fortunes of the state
through the effect which his teachings had upon these young men would
require a paper by itself. Perhaps no man has ever had a better
opportunity than Cicero had in their cases to leave a lasting impression
on the political leaders of the coming generation. Curio, Cælius,
Trebatius, Dolabella, Hirtius, and Pansa, who were Cæsar's lieutenants, in
the years when their characters were forming and their political
tendencies were being determined, were moulded by Cicero. They were warmly
attached to him as their guide, philosopher, and friend, and they admired
him as a writer, an orator, and an accomplished man of the world. Later
they attached themselves to Cæsar, and while they were still under his
spell, Cicero's influence over their political course does not seem to
count for so much, but after Cæsar's death, the latent effect of Cicero's
friendship and teaching makes itself clearly felt in the heroic service
which such men as Hirtius and Pansa rendered to the cause of the dying
Republic. Possibly even Curio, had he been living, might have been found,
after the Ides of March, fighting by the side of Cicero.
Perhaps there is no better way of bringing out the intimate relations
which Curio and the other young men of this group bore to the orator than
by translating one of Cicero's early letters to him. It was written in 53
B.C., when the young man was in Asia, just beginning his political career
as quæstor, or treasurer, on the staff of the governor of that province,
"Although I grieve to have been suspected of neglect by you, still it has
not been so annoying to me that my failure in duty is complained of by you
as pleasant that it has been noticed, especially since, in so far as I am
accused, I am free from fault. But in so far as you intimate that you
long for a letter from me, you disclose that which I know well, it is
true, but that which is sweet and cherished--your love, I mean. In point
of fact, I never let any one pass, who I think will go to you, without
giving him a letter. For who is so indefatigable in writing as I am? From
you, on the other hand, twice or thrice at most have I received a letter,
and then a very short one. Therefore, if you are an unjust judge toward
me, I shall condemn you on the same charge, but if you shall be unwilling
to have me do that, you must show yourself just to me.
"But enough about letters; I have no fear of not satisfying you by
writing, especially if in that kind of activity you will not scorn my
efforts. I _did_ grieve that you were away from us so long, inasmuch as I
was deprived of the enjoyment of most delightful companionship, but now I
rejoice because, in your absence, you have attained all your ends without
sacrificing your dignity in the slightest degree, and because in all your
undertakings the outcome has corresponded to my desires. What my boundless
affection for you forces me to urge upon you is briefly put. So great a
hope is based, shall I say, on your spirit or on your abilities, that I do
not hesitate to beseech and implore you to come back to us with a
character so moulded that you may be able to preserve and maintain this
confidence in you which you have aroused. And since forgetfulness shall
never blot out my remembrance of your services to me, I beg you to
remember that whatever improvements may come in your fortune, or in your
station in life, you would not have been able to secure them, if you had
not as a boy in the old days followed my most loyal and loving counsels.
Wherefore you ought to have such a feeling toward us, that we, who are now
growing heavy with years, may find rest in your love and your youth."
In a most unexpected place, in one of Cicero's fiery invectives against
Antony, we come upon an episode illustrating his affectionate care of
Curio during Curio's youth. The elder Curio lies upon a couch, prostrate
with grief at the wreck which his son has brought on the house by his
dissolute life and his extravagance. The younger Curio throws himself at
Cicero's feet in tears. Like a foster-father, Cicero induces the young
man to break off his evil habits, and persuades the father to forgive him
and pay his debts. This scene which he describes here, reminds us of
Curio's first appearance in Cicero's correspondence, where, with Curio's
wild life in mind, he is spoken of as _filiola Curionis_.
It is an appropriate thing that a man destined to lead so stormy a life as
Curio did, should come on the stage as a leader in the wild turmoil of the
Clodian affair. What brought the two Curios to the front in this matter as
champions of Cicero's future enemy Clodius, it is not easy to say. It is
interesting to notice in passing, however, that our Curio enters politics
as a Democrat. He was the leader, in fact, of the younger element in that
party, of the "Catilinarian crowd," as Cicero styles them, and arrayed
himself against Lucullus, Hortensius, Messala, and other prominent
Conservatives. What the methods were which Curio and his followers
adopted, Cicero graphically describes. They blocked up the entrances
to the polling places with professional rowdies, and allowed only one kind
of ballots to be distributed to the voters. This was in 61 B.C., when
Curio can scarcely have been more than twenty-three years old.
In the following year Cæsar was back in Rome from his successful
proprætorship in Spain, and found little difficulty in persuading Pompey
and Crassus to join him in forming that political compact which controlled
the fortunes of Rome for the next ten years. As a part of the agreement,
Cæsar was made consul in 59 B.C., and forced his radical legislation
through the popular assembly in spite of the violent opposition of the
Conservatives. This is the year, too, of the candidacy of Clodius for the
tribunate. Toward both these movements the attitude of Curio is puzzling.
He reports to Cicero that Clodius's main object in running for the
tribunate is to repeal the legislation of Cæsar. It is strange that a man
who had been in the counsels of Clodius, and was so shrewd on other
occasions in interpreting political motives, can have been so deceived. We
can hardly believe that he was double-faced toward Cicero. We must
conclude, I think, that his strong dislike for Cæsar's policy and
political methods colored his view of the situation. His fierce opposition
to Cæsar is the other strange incident in this period of his life. Most
of the young men of the time, even those of good family, were enthusiastic
supporters of Cæsar. Curio, however, is bitterly opposed to him.
Perhaps he resented Cæsar's repression of freedom of speech, for he tells
Cicero that the young men of Rome will not submit to the high-handed
methods of the triumvirs, or perhaps he imbibed his early dislike for
Cæsar from his father, whose sentiments are made clear enough by a savage
epigram at Cæsar's expense, which Suetonius quotes from a speech of the
elder Curio. At all events he is the only man who dares speak out. He
is the idol of the Conservatives, and is surrounded by enthusiastic crowds
whenever he appears in the forum. He is now the recognized leader of the
opposition to Cæsar, and a significant proof of this fact is furnished at
the great games given in honor of Apollo in the summer of 59. When Cæsar
entered the theatre there was faint applause; when Curio entered the crowd
rose and cheered him, "as they used to cheer Pompey when the commonwealth
was safe." Perhaps the mysterious Vettius episode, an ancient Titus
Oates affair, which belongs to this year, reflects the desire of the
triumvirs to get rid of Curio, and shows also their fear of his
opposition. This unscrupulous informer is said to have privately told
Curio of a plot against the life of Pompey, in the hope of involving him
in the meshes of the plot. Curio denounced him to Pompey, and Vettius was
thrown into prison, where he was afterward found dead, before the truth of
the matter could be brought out. Of course Curio's opposition to Cæsar
effected little, except, perhaps, in drawing Cæsar's attention to him as a
To Curio's quæstorship in Asia reference has already been made. It fell in
53 B.C., and from his incumbency of this office we can make an approximate
estimate of his date of birth. Thirty or thirty-one was probably the
minimum age for holding the quæstorship at this time, so that Curio must
have been born about 84 B.C. From Cicero's letter to him, which has been
given above, it would seem to follow that he had performed his duties in
his province with eminent success. During his absence from Rome his
father died, and with his father's death one stimulating cause of his
dislike for Cæsar may have disappeared. To Curio's absence in his province
we owe six of the charming letters which Cicero wrote to him. In one of
his letters of this year he writes: "There are many kinds of letters,
as you well know, but one sort, for the sake of which letter-writing was
invented, is best recognized: I mean letters written for the purpose of
informing those who are not with us of whatever it may be to our advantage
or to theirs that they should know. Surely you are not looking for a
letter of this kind from me, for you have correspondents and messengers
from home who report to you about your household. Moreover, so far as my
concerns go, there is absolutely nothing new. There are two kinds of
letters left which please me very much: one, of the informal and jesting
sort; the other, serious and weighty. I do not feel that it is unbecoming
to adopt either of these styles. Am I to jest with you by letter? On my
word I do not think that there is a citizen who can laugh in these days.
Or shall I write something of a more serious character? What subject is
there on which Cicero can write seriously to Curio, unless it be
concerning the commonwealth? And on this matter this is my situation: that
I neither dare to set down in writing that which I think, nor wish to
write what I do not think."
The Romans felt the same indifference toward affairs in the provinces that
we show in this country, unless their investments were in danger. They
were wrapped up in their own concerns, and politics in Rome were so
absorbing in 53 B.C. that people in the city probably paid little
attention to the doings of a quæstor in the far-away province of Asia.
But, as the time for Curio's return approached, men recalled the striking
rôle which he played in politics in earlier days, and wondered what course
he would take when he came back. Events were moving rapidly toward a
crisis. Julia, Cæsar's daughter, whom Pompey had married, died in the
summer of 54 B.C., and Crassus was defeated and murdered by the Parthians
in 53 B.C. The death of Crassus brought Cæsar and Pompey face to face, and
Julia's death broke one of the strongest bonds which had held these two
rivals together. Cæsar's position, too, was rendered precarious by the
desperate struggle against the Belgæ, in which he was involved in 53 B.C.
In Rome the political pot was boiling furiously. The city was in the grip
of the bands of desperadoes hired by Milo and Clodius, who broke up the
elections during 53 B.C., so that the first of January, 52, arrived with
no chief magistrates in the city. To a man of Curio's daring and
versatility this situation offered almost unlimited possibilities, and
recognizing this fact, Cicero writes earnestly to him, on the eve of
his return, to enlist him in support of Milo's candidacy for the
consulship. Curio may have just arrived in the city when matters reached a
climax, for on January 18, 52 B.C., Clodius was killed in a street brawl
by the followers of Milo, and Pompey was soon after elected sole consul,
to bring order out of the chaos, if possible.
Curio was not called upon to support Milo for the consulship, because
Milo's share in the murder of Clodius and the elevation of Pompey to his
extra-constitutional magistracy put an end to Milo's candidacy. What part
he took in supporting or in opposing Pompey's reform legislation of 52
B.C., and what share he had in the preliminary skirmishes between Cæsar
and the senate during the early part of 51, we have no means of knowing.
As the situation became more acute, however, toward the end of the year,
we hear of him again as an active political leader. Cicero's absence from
Rome from May, 51 to January, 49 B.C., is a fortunate thing for us, for to
it we owe the clever and gossipy political letters which his friend Cælius
sent him from the capital. In one of these letters, written August 1, 51
B.C., we learn that Curio is a candidate for the tribunate for the
following year, and in it we find a keen analysis of the situation, and an
interesting, though tantaizingly brief, estimate of his character. Coming
from an intimate friend of Curio, it is especially valuable to us. Cælius
writes: "He inspires with great alarm many people who do not know him
and do not know how easily he can be influenced, but judging from my hopes
and wishes, and from his present behavior, he will prefer to support the
Conservatives and the senate. In his present frame of mind he is simply
bubbling over with this feeling. The source and reason of this attitude
of his lies in the fact that Cæsar, who is in the habit of winning the
friendship of men of the worst sort at any cost whatsoever, has shown a
great contempt for him. And of the whole affair it seems to me a most
delightful outcome, and the view has been taken by the rest, too, to such
a degree that Curio, who does nothing after deliberation, seems to have
followed a definite policy and definite plans in avoiding the traps of
those who had made ready to oppose his election to the tribunate--I mean
the Lælii, Antonii, and powerful people of that sort." Without strong
convictions or a settled policy, unscrupulous, impetuous, radical, and
changeable, these are the qualities which Cælius finds in Curio, and what
we have seen of his career leads us to accept the correctness of this
estimate. In 61 he had been the champion of Clodius, and the leader of the
young Democrats, while two years later we found him the opponent of Cæsar,
and an ultra-Conservative. It is in the light of his knowledge of Curio's
character, and after receiving this letter from Cælius, that Cicero writes
in December, 51 B.C., to congratulate him upon his election to the
tribunate. He begs him "to govern and direct his course in all matters in
accordance with his own judgment, and not to be carried away by the advice
of other people." "I do not fear," he says, "that you may do anything in a
fainthearted or stupid way, if you defend those policies which you
yourself shall believe to be right.... Commune with yourself, take
yourself into counsel, hearken to yourself, determine your own policy."
The other point in the letter of Cælius, his analysis of the political
situation, so far as Curio is concerned, is not so easy to follow. Cælius
evidently believes that Curio had coquetted with Cæsar and had been
snubbed by him, that his intrigues with Cæsar had at first led the
aristocracy to oppose his candidacy, but that Cæsar's contemptuous
treatment of his advances had driven him into the arms of the senatorial
party. It is quite possible, however, that an understanding may have been
reached between Cæsar and Curio even at this early date, and that Cæsar's
coldness and Curio's conservatism may both have been assumed. This would
enable Curio to pose as an independent leader, free from all obligations
to Cæsar, Pompey, or the Conservatives, and anxious to see fair play and
safeguard the interests of the whole people, an independent leader who
was driven over in the end to Cæsar's side by the selfish and factious
opposition of the senatorial party to his measures of reform and his
advocacy of even-handed justice for both Cæsar and Pompey.
Whether Curio came to an understanding with Cæsar before he entered on his
tribunate or not, his policy from the outset was well calculated to make
the transfer of his allegiance seem forced upon him, and to help him carry
over to Cæsar the support of those who were not blinded by partisan
feelings. Before he had been in office a fortnight he brought in a bill
which would have annulled the law, passed by Cæsar in his consulship,
assigning land in Campania to Pompey's veterans. The repeal of this
law had always been a favorite project with the Conservatives, and Curio's
proposal seemed to be directed equally against Cæsar and Pompey. In
February of 50 B.C. he brought in two bills whose reception facilitated
his passage to the Cæsarian party. One of them provided for the repair of
the roads, and, as Appian tells us, although "he knew that he could
not carry any such measure, he hoped that Pompey's friends would oppose
him so that he might have that as an excuse for opposing Pompey." The
second measure was to insert an intercalary month. It will be remembered
that before Cæsar reformed the calendar, it was necessary to insert an
extra month in alternate years, and 50 B.C. was a year in which
intercalation was required. Curio's proposal was, therefore, a very proper
one. It would recommend itself also on the score of fairness. March 1 had
been set as the day on which the senate should take up the question of
Cæsar's provinces, and after that date there would be little opportunity
to consider other business. Now the intercalated month would have been
inserted, in accordance with the regular practice, after February 23, and
by its insertion time would have been given for the proper discussion of
the measures which Curio had proposed. Incidentally, and probably this was
in Curio's mind, the date when Cæsar might be called upon to surrender his
provinces would be postponed. The proposal to insert the extra month was
defeated, and Curio, blocked in every move by the partisan and
unreasonable opposition of Pompey and the Conservatives, found the
pretext for which lie had been working, and came out openly for
Cæsar. Those who knew him well were not surprised at the transfer of
his allegiance. It was probably in fear of such a move that Cicero had
urged him not to yield to the influence of others, and when Cicero in
Cilicia hears the news, he writes to his friend Cælius: "Is it possible?
Curio is now defending Cæsar! Who would have expected it?--except myself,
for, as surely as I hope to live, _I_ expected it. Heavens! how I miss the
laugh we might have had over it." Looking back, as we can now, on the
political rôle which Curio played during the next twelve months, it seems
strange that two of his intimate friends, who were such far-sighted
politicians as Cicero and Cælius were, should have underestimated his
political ability so completely. It shows Cæsar's superior political
sagacity that he clearly saw his qualities as a leader and tactician. What
terms Cæsar was forced to make to secure his support we do not know.
Gossip said that the price was sixty million sesterces, or more than
two and a half million dollars. He was undoubtedly in great straits. The
immense sums which he had spent in celebrating funeral games in honor of
his father had probably left him a bankrupt, and large amounts of money
were paid for political services during the last years of the republic.
Naturally proof of the transaction cannot be had, and even Velleius
Paterculus, in his savage arraignment of Curio, does not feel
convinced of the truth of the story, but the tale is probable.
It was high time for Cæsar to provide himself with an agent in Rome. The
month of March was near at hand, when the long-awaited discussion of his
provinces would come up in the senate. His political future, and his
rights as a citizen, depended upon his success in blocking the efforts of
the senate to take his provinces from him before the end of the year, when
he could step from the proconsulship to the consulship. An interval of
even a month in private life between the two offices would be all that his
enemies would need for bringing political charges against him that would
effect his ruin. His displacement before the end of the year must be
prevented, therefore, at all hazards. To this task Curio addressed
himself, and with surpassing adroitness. He did not come out at once as
Cæsar's champion. His function was to hold the scales true between Cæsar
and Pompey, to protect the Commonwealth against the overweening ambition
and threatening policy of both men. He supported the proposal that Cæsar
should be called upon to surrender his army, but coupled with it the
demand that Pompey also should be required to give up his troops and his
proconsulship. The fairness of his plan appealed to the masses, who would
not tolerate a favor to Pompey at Cæsar's expense. It won over even a
majority of the senate. The cleverness of his policy was clearly shown at
a critical meeting of the senate in December of the year 50 B.C. Appian
tells us the story: "In the senate the opinion of each member was
asked, and Claudius craftily divided the question and took the votes
separately, thus: 'Shall Pompey be deprived of his command?' The majority
voted against the latter proposition, and it was decreed that successors
to Cæsar should be sent. Then Curio put the question whether both should
lay down their commands, and twenty-two voted in the negative, while
three hundred and seventy went back to the opinion of Curio in order to
avoid civil discord. Then Claudius dismissed the senate, exclaiming:
'Enjoy your victory and have Cæsar for a master!'" The senate's action was
vetoed, and therefore had no legal value, but it put Cæsar and Curio in
the right and Pompey' s partisans in the wrong.
As a part of his policy of defending Cæsar by calling attention to the
exceptional position and the extra-constitutional course of Pompey, Curio
offset the Conservative attacks on Cæsar by public speeches fiercely
arraigning Pompey for what he had done during his consulship, five years
before. When we recall Curio's biting wit and sarcasm, and the
unpopularity of Pompey's high-handed methods of that year, we shall
appreciate the effectiveness of this flank attack.
Another weapon which he used freely was his unlimited right of veto as
tribune. As early as April Cælius appreciated how successful these tactics
would be, and he saw the dilemma in which they would put the
Conservatives, for he writes to Cicero: "This is what I have to tell you:
if they put pressure at every point on Curio, Cæsar will defend his right
to exercise the veto; if, as seems likely, they shrink [from overruling
him], Cæsar will stay [in his province] as long as he likes." The veto
power was the weapon which he used against the senate at the meeting of
that body on the first of December, to which reference has already been
made. The elections in July had gone against Cæsar. Two Conservatives had
been returned as consuls. In the autumn the senate had found legal means
of depriving Cæsar of two of his legions. Talk of a compromise was dying
down. Pompey, who had been desperately ill in the spring, had regained his
strength. He had been exasperated by the savage attacks of Curio.
Sensational stories of the movements of Cæsar's troops in the North were
whispered in the forum, and increased the tension. In the autumn, for
instance, Cæsar had occasion to pay a visit to the towns in northern Italy
to thank them for their support of Mark Antony, his candidate for the
tribunate, and the wild rumor flew to Rome that he had advanced four
legions to Placentia, that his march on the city had begun, and
tumult and confusion followed. It was in these circumstances that the
consul Marcellus moved in the senate that successors be sent to take over
Cæsar's provinces, but the motion was blocked by the veto of Curio,
whereupon the consul cried out: "If I am prevented by the vote of the
senate from taking steps for the public safety, I will take such steps on
my own responsibility as consul." After saying this he darted out of the
senate and proceeded to the suburbs with his colleague, where he presented
a sword to Pompey, and said: "My colleague and I command you to march
against Cæsar in behalf of your country, and we give you for this purpose
the army now at Capua, or in any other part of Italy, and whatever
additional forces you choose to levy." Curio had accomplished his
purpose. He had shown that Pompey as well as Cæsar was a menace to the
state; he had prevented Cæsar's recall; he had shown Antony, who was to
succeed him in the tribunate, how to exasperate the senate into using
coercive measures against his sacrosanct person as tribune and thus
justify Cæsar's course in the war, and he had goaded the Conservatives
into taking the first overt step in the war by commissioning Pompey to
begin a campaign against Cæsar without any authorization from the senate
or the people.
The news of the unconstitutional step taken by Marcellus and Pompey
reached Rome December 19 or 20. Curio's work as tribune was done, and on
the twenty-first of the month he set out for the North to join his leader.
The senate would be called together by the new consuls on January 1, and
since, before the reform in the calendar, December had only twenty-nine
days, there were left only eight days for Curio to reach Cæsar's
head-quarters, lay the situation before him, and return to the city with
his reply. Ravenna, where Cæsar had his head-quarters, was two hundred and
forty miles from Rome. He covered the distance, apparently, in three days,
spent perhaps two days with Cæsar, and was back in Rome again for the
meeting of the senate on the morning of January 1. Consequently, he
travelled at the rate of seventy-five or eighty miles a day, twice the
rate of the ordinary Roman courier.
We cannot regret too keenly the fact that we have no account of Curio's
meeting with Cæsar, and his recital to Cæsar of the course of events in
Rome. In drawing up the document which was prepared at this conference,
Cæsar must have been largely influenced by the intimate knowledge which
Curio had of conditions in the capital, and of the temper of the senate.
It was an ultimatum, and, when Curio presented it to the senate, that body
accepted the challenge, and called upon Cæsar to lay down his command on a
specified date or be declared a public enemy. Cæsar replied by crossing
the border of his province and occupying one town after another in
northern Italy in rapid succession. All this had been agreed upon in the
meeting between Curio and Cæsar, and Velleius Paterculus is probably
right in putting the responsibility for the war largely on the shoulders
of Curio, who, as he says, brought to naught the fair terms of peace which
Cæsar was ready to propose and Pompey to accept. The whole situation
points to the conclusion that Cæsar did not desire war, and was not
prepared for it. Had he anticipated its immediate outbreak, he would
scarcely have let it arise when he had only one legion with him on the
border, while his other ten legions were a long distance away.
From the outset Curio took an active part in the war which he had done so
much to bring about, and it was an appropriate thing that the closing
events in his life should have been recorded for us by his great patron,
Cæsar, in his narrative of the Civil War. On the 18th or 19th of January,
within ten days of the crossing of the Rubicon, we hear of his being sent
with a body of troops to occupy Iguvium, and a month later he is in
charge of one of the investing camps before the stronghold of
Corfinium. With the fall of Corfinium, on the 21st of February,
Cæsar's rapid march southward began, which swept the Pompeians out of
Italy within a month and gave Cæsar complete control of the peninsula. In
that brilliant campaign Curio undoubtedly took an active part, for at the
close of it Cæsar gave him an independent commission for the occupation of
Sicily and northern Africa. No more important command could have been
given him, for Sicily and Africa were the granaries of Rome, and if the
Pompeians continued to hold them, the Cæsarians in Italy might be starved
into submission. To this ill-fated campaign Cæsar devotes the latter half
of the second book of his Civil War. In the beginning of his account of it
he remarks: "Showing at the outset a total contempt for the military
strength of his opponent, Publius Attius Varus, Curio crossed over from
Sicily, accompanied by only two of the four legions originally given him
by Cæsar, and by only five hundred cavalry." The estimate which
Cælius had made of him was true, after all, at least in military affairs.
He was bold and impetuous, and lacked a settled policy. Where daring and
rapidity of movement could accomplish his purpose, he succeeded, but he
lacked patience in finding out the size and disposition of the enemy's
forces and calmness of judgment in comparing his own strength with that of
his foe. It was this weakness in his character as a military leader which
led him to join battle with Varus and Juba's lieutenant, Saburra, without
learning beforehand, as he might have done, that Juba, with a large army,
was encamped not six miles in the rear of Saburra. Curio's men were
surrounded by the enemy and cut down as they stood. His staff begged him
to seek safety in flight, but, as Cæsar writes, "He answered without
hesitation that, having lost the army which Cæsar had entrusted to his
charge, he would never return to look him in the face, and with that
answer he died fighting."
Three years later the fortunes of war brought Cæsar to northern Africa,
and he traversed a part of the region where Curio's luckless campaign had
been carried on. With the stern eye of the trained soldier, he marked the
fatal blunders which Curio had made, but he recalled also the charm of his
personal qualities, and the defeat before Utica was forgotten in his
remembrance of the great victory which Curio had won for him,
single-handed, in Rome. Even Lucan, a partisan of the senate which Curio
had flouted, cannot withhold his admiration for Curio's brilliant career,
and his pity for Curio's tragic end. As he stands in imagination before
the fallen Roman leader, he exclaims: "Happy wouldst thou be, O Rome,
and destined to bless thy people, had it pleased the gods above to guard
thy liberty as it pleased them to avenge its loss. Lo! the noble body of
Curio, covered by no tomb, feeds the birds of Libya. But to thee, since it
profiteth not to pass in silence those deeds of thine which their own
glory defends forever 'gainst the decay of time, such tribute now we pay,
O youth, as thy life has well deserved. No other citizen of such talent
has Rome brought forth, nor one to whom the law would be indebted more, if
he the path of right had followed out. As it was, the corruption of the
age ruined the city when desire for office, pomp, and the power which
wealth gives, ever to be dreaded, had swept away his wavering mind with
sidelong flood, and the change of Curio, snared by the spoils of Gaul and
the gold of Cæsar, was that which turned the tide of history. Although
mighty Sulla, fierce Marius, the blood-bespattered Cinna, and all the line
of Cæsar's house have held our throats at their mercy with the sword, to
whom was e'er such power vouchsafed? All others bought, _he_ sold the
Gaius Matius, a Friend of Cæsar
"_Non enim Cæsarem ... sum secutus, sed amicum_."
Gaius Matius, the subject of this sketch, was neither a great warrior, nor
statesman, nor writer. If his claim to remembrance rested on what he did
in the one or the other of these rôles, he would long ago have been
forgotten. It is his genius for friendship which has kept his memory
green, and that is what he himself would have wished. Of his early life we
know little, but it does not matter much, because the interest which he
has for us centres about his relations to Cæsar in early manhood. Being of
good birth, and a man of studious tastes, he probably attended the
University at Athens, and heard lectures there as young Cicero and Messala
did at a later period. He must have been a man of fine tastes and
cultivation, for Cicero, in writing to a friend, bestows on Matius the
title "doctissimus," the highest literary compliment which one Roman could
pay another, and Apollodorus of Pergamum dedicated to him his treatise on
rhetoric. Since he was born about 84 B.C., he returned from his years of
study at Athens about the time when Cæsar was setting out on his brilliant
campaign in Gaul. Matius joined him, attracted perhaps by the personal
charms of the young proconsul, perhaps by the love of adventure, perhaps,
like his friend Trebatius, by the hope of making a reputation.
At all events he was already with Cæsar somewhere in Gaul in 53 B.C., and
it is hard to think of an experience better suited to lay bare the good
and the bad qualities in Cæsar's character than the years of camp life
which Matius spent with him in the wilds of Gaul and Britain. As
aide-de-camp, or orderly, for such a position he probably held, his place
was by Cæsar's side. They forded the rivers together, walked or rode
through woodland or open side by side, shared the same meagre rations, and
lay in the same tent at the end of the day's march, ready to spring from
the ground at a moment's warning to defend each other against attack from
the savage foe. Cæsar's narrative of his campaigns in Gaul is a soldier's
story of military movements, and perhaps from our school-boy remembrance
of it we may have as little a liking for it as Horace had for the poem of
Livius Andronicus, which he studied under "Orbilius of the rods," but even
the obscurities of the Latin subjunctive and ablative cannot have blinded
us entirely to the romance of the desperate siege of Alesia and the final
struggle which the Gauls made to drive back the invader. Matius shared
with Cæsar all the hardships and perils of that campaign, and with Cæsar
he witnessed the final scene of the tragedy when Vercingetorix, the heroic
Gallic chieftain, gave up his sword, and the conquest of Gaul was
finished. It is little wonder that Matius and the other young men who
followed Cæsar were filled with admiration of the man who had brought all
this to pass.
It was a notable group, including Trebatius, Hirtius, Pansa, Oppius, and
Matius in its number. All of them were of the new Rome. Perhaps they were
dimly conscious that the mantle of Tiberius Gracchus had fallen upon their
leader, that the great political struggle which had been going on for
nearly a century was nearing its end, and that they were on the eve of a
greater victory than that at Alesia. It would seem that only two of them,
Matius and Trebatius, lived to see the dawning of the new day. But it was
not simply nor mainly the brilliancy of Cæsar as a leader in war or in
politics which attracted Matius to him. As he himself puts it in his
letter to Cicero: "I did not follow a Cæsar, but a friend." Lucullus and
Pompey had made as distinguished a record in the East as Cæsar had in the
West, but we hear of no such group of able young men following their
fortunes as attached themselves to Cæsar. We must find a reason for the
difference in the personal qualities of Cæsar, and there is nothing that
more clearly proves the charm of his character than the devotion to him of
this group of men. In the group Matius is the best representative of the
man and the friend. When Cæsar came into his own, Matius neither asked for
nor accepted the political offices which Cæsar would gladly have given
him. One needs only to recall the names of Antony, Labienus, or Decimus
Brutus to realize the fact that Cæsar remembered and rewarded the faithful
services of his followers. But Matius was Cæsar's friend and nothing more,
not his master of the horse, as Antony was, nor his political and
financial heir, as Octavius was. In his loyalty to Cæsar he sought for no
other reward than Cæsar's friendship, and his services to him brought with
them their own return. Indeed, through his friend he suffered loss, for
one of Cæsar's laws robbed him of a part of his estate, as he tells us,
but this experience did not lessen his affection. How different his
attitude was from that of others who professed a friendship for Cæsar!
Some of them turned upon their leader and plotted against his life, when
disappointed in the favors which they had received at his hands, and
others, when he was murdered, used his name and his friendship for them to
advance their own ambitious designs. Antony and Octavius struggle with
each other to catch the reins of power which have fallen from his hands;
Dolabella, who seems to regard himself as an understudy of Cæsar, plays a
serio-comic part in Rome in his efforts to fill the place of the dead
dictator; while Decimus Brutus hurries to the North to make sure of the
province which Cæsar had given him.
From these men, animated by selfishness, by jealousy, by greed for gain,
by sentimentalism, or by hypocritical patriotism, Matius stands aloof,
and stands perhaps alone. For him the death of Cæsar means the loss of a
friend, of a man in whom he believed. He can find no common point of
sympathy either with those who rejoice in the death of the tyrant, as
Cicero does, for he had not thought Cæsar a tyrant, nor with those who use
the name of Cæsar to conjure with. We have said that he accepted no
political office. He did accept an office, that of procurator, or
superintendent, of the public games which Cæsar had vowed on the field of
Pharsalus, but which death had stepped in to prevent him from giving, and
it was in the pious fulfilment of this duty which he took upon himself
that he brought upon his head the anger of the "auctores libertatis," as
he ironically calls them. He had grieved, too, at the death of Cæsar,
although "a man ought to rate the fatherland above a friend," as the
liberators said. Matius took little heed of this talk. He had known of it
from the outset, but it had not troubled him. Yet when it came to his ears
that his friend Cicero, to whom he had been attached from boyhood, to whom
he had proved his fidelity at critical moments, was among his accusers, he
could not but complain bitterly of the injustice. Through a common
friend, Trebatius, whose acquaintance he had made in Gaul, he expresses to
Cicero the sorrow which he feels at his unkindness. What Cicero has to say
in explanation of his position and in defence of himself, we can do no
better than to give in his own words:
"_Cicero to Matins, greeting:_
"I am not yet quite clear in my own mind whether our friend Trebatius,
who is as loyal as he is devoted to both of us, has brought me more
sorrow or pleasure: for I reached my Tusculan villa in the evening, and
the next day, early in the morning, he came to see me, though he had
not yet recovered his strength. When I reproved him for giving too
little heed to his health, he said that nothing was nearer his heart
than seeing me. 'There's nothing new,' say I? He told me of your
grievance against me, yet before I make any reply in regard to it, let
me state a few facts.
"As far back as I can recall the past I have no friend of longer
standing than you are; but long duration is a thing characteristic of
many friendships, while love is not. I loved you on the day I met you,
and I believed myself loved by you. Your subsequent departure, and that
too for a long time, my electoral canvass, and our different modes of
life did not allow our inclination toward one another to be
strengthened by intimacy; still I saw your feeling toward me many years
before the Civil War, while Cæsar was in Gaul; for the result which you
thought would be of great advantage to me and not of disadvantage to
Cæsar himself you accomplished: I mean in bringing him to love me, to
honor me, to regard me as one of his friends. Of the many confidential
communications which passed between us in those days, by word of mouth,
by letter, by message, I say nothing, for sterner times followed. At
the breaking out of the Civil War, when you were on your way toward
Brundisium to join Cæsar, you came to me to my Formian villa. In the
first place, how much did that very fact mean, especially at those
times! Furthermore, do you think I have forgotten your counsel, your
words, the kindness you showed? I remember that Trebatius was there.
Nor indeed have I forgotten the letter which you sent to me after
meeting Cæsar, in the district near Trebula, as I remember it. Next
came that ill-fated moment when either my regard for public opinion, or
my sense of duty, or chance, call it what you will, compelled me to go
to Pompey. What act of kindness or thoughtfulness either toward me in
my absence or toward my dear ones in Rome did you neglect? In fact,
whom have all my friends thought more devoted to me and to themselves
than you are? I came to Brundisium. Do you think I have forgotten in
what haste, as soon as you heard of it, you came hurrying to me from
Tarentum? How much your presence meant to me, your words of cheer to a
courage broken by the fear of universal disaster! Finally, our life at
Rome began. What element did our friendship lack? In most important
matters I followed your advice with reference to my relations toward
Cæsar; in other matters I followed my own sense of duty. With whom but
myself, if Cæsar be excepted, have you gone so far as to visit his
house again and again, and to spend there many hours, oftentimes in the
most delightful discourse? It was then too, if you remember, that you
persuaded me to write those philosophical essays of mine. After his
return, what purpose was more in your thoughts than to have me as good
a friend of Cæsar as possible? This you accomplished at once.
"What is the point, then, of this discourse, which is longer than I had
intended it should be? This is the point, that I have been surprised
that you, who ought to see these things, have believed that I have
taken any step which is out of harmony with our friendly relations, for
beside these facts which I have mentioned, which are undisputed and
self-evident facts, there are many more intimate ties of friendship
which I can scarcely put in words. Everything about you charms me, but
most of all, on the one hand, your perfect loyalty in matters of
friendship, your wisdom, dignity, steadfastness; on the other hand,
your wit, refinement, and literary tastes.
"Wherefore--now I come back to the grievance--in the first place, I did
not think that you had voted for that law; in the second place, if I
had thought so, I should never have thought that you had done it
without some sufficient reason. Your position makes whatever you do
noticeable; furthermore, envy puts some of your acts in a worse light
than the facts warrant. If you do not hear these rumors I do not know
what to say. So far as I am concerned, if I ever hear them I defend you
as I know that _I_ am always defended by _you_ against _my_ detractors.
And my defence follows two lines: there are some things which I always
deny _in toto_, as, for instance, the statement in regard to that very
vote; there are other acts of yours which I maintain were dictated by
considerations of affection and kindness, as, for instance, your action
with reference to the management of the games. But it does not escape
you, with all your wisdom, that, if Cæsar was a king--which seems to me
at any rate to have been the case--with respect of your duty two
positions may be maintained, either the one which I am in the habit of
taking, that your loyalty and friendship to Cæsar are to be praised, or
the one which some people take, that the freedom of one's fatherland is
to be esteemed more than the life of one's friend. I wish that my
discussions springing out of these conversations had been repeated to
"Indeed, who mentions either more gladly or more frequently than I the
two following facts, which are especially to your honor? The fact that
you were the most influential opponent of the Civil War, and that you
were the most earnest advocate of temperance in the moment of victory,
and in this matter I have found no one to disagree with me. Wherefore I
am grateful to our friend Trebatius for giving me an opportunity to
write this letter, and if you are not convinced by it, you will think
me destitute of all sense of duty and kindness; and nothing more
serious to me than that or more foreign to your own nature can happen."
In all the correspondence of Cicero there is not a letter written with
more force and delicacy of feeling, none better suited to accomplish its
purpose than this letter to Matius. It is a work of art; but in that fact
lies its defect, and in that respect it is in contrast to the answer which
it called forth from Matius, The reply of Matius stands on a level with
another better-known non-Ciceronian epistle, the famous letter of
condolence which Servius wrote to Cicero after the death of Cicero's
daughter, Tullia; but it is finer, for, while Servius is stilted and full
of philosophical platitudes, Matius, like Shakespeare's Antony, "only
speaks right on," in telling Cicero of his grief at Cæsar's death, of his
indignation at the intolerant attitude of the assassins, and his
determination to treasure the memory of Cæsar at any cost. This is his
"_Matius to Cicero, greeting_
"I derived great pleasure from your letter, because I saw that you held
such an opinion about me as I had hoped you would hold, and wished you
to hold; and although, in regard to that opinion, I had no misgivings,
still, inasmuch as I considered it a matter of the greatest importance,
I was anxious that it should continue unchanged. And then I was
conscious of having done nothing to offend any good citizen; therefore
I was the less inclined to believe that you, endowed as you are with so
many excellent qualities, could be influenced by any idle rumors,
especially as my friendship toward you had been and was sincere and
unbroken. Since I know that matters stand in this respect as I have
wished them to stand, I will reply to the charges, which you have often
refuted in my behalf in such a way as one would expect from that
kindness of heart characteristic of you and from our friendship. It is
true that what men said against me after the death of Cæsar was known
to me. They call it a sin of mine that I sorrow over the death of a man
dear to me, and because I grieve that he whom I loved is no more, for
they say that 'fatherland should be above friendship,' just as if they
had proved already that his death has been of service to the state. But
I will make no subtle plea. I confess that I have not attained to your
high philosophic planes; for, on the one hand, in the Civil War I did
not follow a Cæsar, but a friend, and although I was grieved at the
state of things, still I did not desert him; nor, on the other hand,
did I at any time approve of the Civil War, nor even of the reason for
strife, which I most earnestly sought to extinguish when it was
kindling. Therefore, in the moment of victory for one bound to me by
the closest ties, I was not captivated by the charm either of public
office or of gold, while his other friends, although they had less
influence with him than I, misused these rewards in no small degree.
Nay, even my own property was impaired by a law of Cæsar's, thanks to
which very law many who rejoice at the death of Cæsar have remained at
Rome. I have worked as for my own welfare that conquered citizens might
"Then may not I, who have desired the welfare of all, be indignant
that he, from whom this favor came, is dead? especially since the very
men who were forgiven have brought him both unpopularity and death. You
shall be punished, then, they say, 'since you dare to disapprove of our
deed.' Unheard of arrogance, that some men glory in their crime, that
others may not even sorrow over it without punishment! But it has
always been the unquestioned right, even of slaves, to fear, to
rejoice, to grieve according to the dictates of their own feelings
rather than at the bidding of another man; of these rights, as things
stand now, to judge from what these champions of freedom keep saying,
they are trying to deprive us by intimidation; but their efforts are
useless. I shall never be driven by the terrors of any danger from the
path of duty or from the claims of friendship, for I have never thought
that a man should shrink from an honorable death; nay, I have often
thought that he should seek it. But why are they angry at me, if I wish
them to repent of their deed? for I desire to have Cæsar's death a
bitter thing to all men.
"'But I ought as a citizen to desire the welfare of the state.' Unless
my life in the past and my hope for the future, without words from me,
prove that I desire that very end, I do not seek to establish the fact
by words. Wherefore I beg you the more earnestly to consider deeds more
than words, and to believe, if you feel that it is well for the right
to prevail, that I can have no intercourse with dishonorable men. For
am I now, in my declining years, to change that course of action which
I maintained in my youth, when I might even have gone astray with hope
of indulgence, and am I to undo my life's work? I will not do so. Yet I
shall take no step which may be displeasing to any man, except to
grieve at the cruel fate of one most closely bound to me, of one who
was a most illustrious man. But if I were otherwise minded, I would
never deny what I was doing lest I should be regarded as shameless in
doing wrong, a coward and a hypocrite in concealing it.
"'Yet the games which the young Cæsar gave in memory of Cæsar's victory
I superintended.' But that has to do with my private obligation and not
with the condition of the state; a duty, however, which I owed to the
memory and the distinguished position of a dear friend even though he
was dead, a duty which I could not decline when asked by a young man of
most excellent promise and most worthy of Cæsar. 'I even went
frequently to the house of the consul Antony to pay my respects!' to
whom you will find that those who think that I am lacking in devotion
to my country kept coming in throngs to ask some favor forsooth or
secure some reward. But what arrogance this is that, while Cæsar never
interfered with my cultivating the friendship of men whom I pleased,
even when he himself did not like them, these men who have taken my
friend from me should try to prevent me by their slander from loving
those whom I will.
"But I am not afraid lest the moderation of my life may prove too weak
to withstand false reports, or that even those who do not love me
because of my loyalty to Cæsar may not prefer to have friends like me
rather than like themselves. So far as I myself am concerned, if what I
prefer shall be my lot, the life which is left me I shall spend in
retirement at Rhodes; but if some untoward circumstance shall prevent
it, I shall live at Rome in such a wise as to desire always that right
be done. Our friend Trebatius I thank heartily in that he has disclosed
your sincere and friendly feeling toward me, and has shown me that him
whom I have always loved of my own free will I ought with the more
reason to esteem and honor. Bene vale et me dilige."
With these words our knowledge of Matius comes almost to an end. His life
was prolonged into the imperial period, and, strangely enough, in one of
the few references to him which we find at a later date, he is
characterized as "the friend of Augustus" (divi Augusti amicus). It would
seem that the affection which he felt for Cæsar he transferred to Cæsar's
heir and successor. He still holds no office or title. In this connection
it is interesting to recall the fact that we owe the best of Cicero's
philosophical work to him, the "Academics," the "De Finibus," and the
"Tusculan Questions," for Cicero tells us in his letter that he was
induced to write his treatises on philosophy by Matius. It is a pleasant
thing to think that to him we may also be indebted for Cicero's charming
essay "On Friendship." The later life of Matius, then, we may think was
spent in retirement, in the study of philosophy, and in the pursuit of
literature. His literary pursuits give a homely and not unpleasant touch
to his character. They were concerned with gastronomy, for Columella, in
the first century of our era, tells us that Matius composed three
books, bearing the titles of "The Cook," "The Butler," and "The
Picklemaker," and his name was transmitted to a later generation in a dish
known as "mincemeat à la Matius" (_minutal Matianum_). He passes out
of the pages of history in the writings of Pliny the Elder as the man who
"invented the practice of clipping shrubbery." To him, then, we
perhaps owe the geometrical figures, and the forms of birds and beasts
which shrubs take in the modern English garden. His memory is thus ever
kept green, whether in a way that redounds to his credit or not is left
for the reader to decide.
Anglo-Saxons, compared with Romans,
in private affairs.
Arval Hymn, the.
Ascoli's theory of the differentiation of the Romance languages.
Batha, a municipal expense.
co-operation with the government;
comparison of ancient and modern objects;
expected of prominent men;
attempts at regulation;
a recognized responsibility;
a legal obligation on municipal officials;
offices thereby limited to the rich;
of rich private citizens;
effect on municipal life and character;
on private citizens;
Cælius, estimate of Curio.
expenditures as sedile;
secures Curio as agent in Rome;
unprepared for civil war;
_et passim_ in chapters on Curio and Matius.
Cato the elder, his diction.
Church, the Christian, influence on the spread of Latin.
quotation from a letter in colloquial style;
his "corrupt practices act,";
_correspondence_ with Matius.
Civic pride of Romans.
Civil war, outbreak of.
Combinations in restraint of trade;
their language logical;
progressive and conservative elements.
Common people of Rome,
their language (see _Latin, colloquial_);
their religious beliefs;
philosophy of life;
belief in future life.
Controversiae of the schools of rhetoric.
aid the government;
many small stockholders.
Cromer, Lord, "Ancient and Modern Imperialism,".
funeral games in his father's honor;
relations with Cicero;
beginning of public life;
relations with Cæsar;
openly espouses Cæsar's cause;
in the Clodian affair;
Cælius's opinion of him;
relations with Pompey;
forces conservatives to open hostilities;
his part in the civil war;
Dacia, Latin in.
Dialects in Italy, their disappearance.
Diez, the Romance philologist.
his edict to regulate prices;
discovery of document;
provisions of the edict;
made prices uniform;
its prices are retail;
English language in India.
deal with the common people;
length of Roman epitaphs;
along Appian Way;
show religious beliefs;
gods rarely named;
praises of women predominate;
Étienne, Henri, first scholar to notice colloquial Latin.
cost of, comparison with to-day;
free distribution of.
not conquered by Latin;
influence on Latin.
Gröber's theory of the differentiation of the Romance languages;
comparison of conditions in East and West;
no attempts to raise wages;
began to enter politics;
attitude of government toward;
Hempl's theory of language rivalry.
Horace, his "curiosa felicitas,".
Inscription from Pompeii, in colloquial Latin.
Julia, death of.
Julian's edict to regulate the price of grain.
Labor-unions. (See _Guilds_.)
Lactantius, "On the Deaths of Those Who Persecuted (the Christians),".
Languages spoken in Italy in the early period;
influence of other languages on Latin, 22. (See also _Greek_.)
evidence of inscriptions;
causes of its spread;
its superiority not a factor;
sentiment a cause;
Latin, colloquial, its study neglected till recently;
first noticed in modern times by Henri Étienne;
its forms, how determined;
ancient authority for its existence;
evidence of the Romance languages;
aid derived from a knowledge of spoken English;
analytical formation of tenses;
causes of variation;
external influences on;
influence of culture;
definition of colloquial Latin;
relation to literary Latin;
accent different from literary Latin;
confusion of genders;
tendencies in vocabulary, 64-7:
effect of loss of final letters;
reunion with literary Latin;
still exists in the Romance languages;
date when it became the separate Romance language;
modelled on Greek;
relation to colloquial Latin;
standardized by grammarians;
reunion with colloquial Latin;
Laws of the Twelve Tables;
Living, cost of, comparison with to-day.
Lucan's account of the death of Curio.
early life and character;
with Cæsar in Gaul;
friendship with Cæsar, _passim_;
accepted no office;
devotion to Cæsar;
unpopularity due to it;
correspondence with Cicero;
defence of his devotion to Cæsar;
prompted Cicero's best philosophical works;
Money, unit of.
Organization, of capitalists (see _Corporations_);
of labor (see _Guilds_).
beginnings of, in Rome;
effect on people.
Patron, office of;
origin of this genre of literature;
the Satiræ and the epic;
and the heroic romance;
and the Menippean satire;
and the Milesian tale;
and the prologue of comedy;
and the mime;
the Satiræ perhaps a mixture of many types;
originated with Petronius.
Poetry of the common people,
borrowed from the Augustan poets;
ordered to march against Cæsar;
_et passim_ in chapter on Curio.
controlled by corporations;
attempts at government regulation.
Probus, the "Appendix" of.
Ritschl, the Plautine scholar.
Romance, the realistic, origin obscure.
(See _Petronius, Satiræ_.)
causes of their differentiation, Gröber's theory;
date of their beginning;
descended from colloquial Latin;
reasons of their agreement;
Romances, the Greek, theory of origin.
Salaries of municipal officers.
(See also _Wages_.)
Scaptius and Cicero.
Seneca the elder, "Controversiæ,".
Theatres a municipal expense.
Urso, constitution of.
Wages in Roman times;
compared with to-day;
(See also _Salaries_.)
 _Cf._ A. Ernout, _Le Parler de Préneste_, Paris, 1905.
 The relation between Latin and the Italic dialects may be illustrated
by an extract or two from them with a Latin translation. An Umbrian
specimen may be taken from one of the bronze tablets found at Iguvium,
which reads in Umbrian: Di Grabouie, saluo seritu ocrem Fisim, saluam
seritu totam Iiouinam (_Iguvinian Tables_ VI, a. 51), and in Latin: Deus
Grabovi, salvam servato arcem Fisiam, salvam servato civitatem Iguvinam. A
bit of Oscan from the Tabula Bantina (Tab. Bant. 2, 11) reads: suaepis
contrud exeic fefacust auti comono hipust, molto etanto estud, and in
Latin: siquis contra hoc fecerit aut comitia habuerit, multa tanta esto.
 _Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum_, IX, 782, furnishes a case in point.
 _Cf._ G. Mohl, _Introduction à la chronologie du Latin vulgaire_,
 Pauly-Wissowa, _Real-Encyclopadie_, IV, 1179 _ff._
 Marquardt, _Römische Staatsverwaltung_, II, p. 463.
 _Cf._, _e.g._, Pirson, _La langue des inscriptions Latines de la
Gaule_, Bruxelles, 1901; Carnoy, _Le Latin d'Espagne d'après les
inscriptions_, Bruxelles, 1906; Hoffmann, _De titulis Africæ Latinis
quæstiones phoneticæ_, 1907; Kuebler, _Die lateinische Sprache auf
afrikanischen Inschriften_ (_Arch, für lat. Lex._, vol. VIII), and Martin,
_Notes on the Syntax of the Latin Inscriptions Found in Spain_, Baltimore,
 _Cf._ L. Hahn, _Rom und Romanismus im griechisch-römischen Osten_
(esp. pp. 222-268), Leipzig, 1906.
 _Proceedings of the American Philological Association_, XXIX (1898),
pp. 31-47. For a different theory of the results of language-conflict,
_cf._ Gröber, _Grundriss der romanischen Philologie_, I, pp. 516, 517.
 A very interesting sketch of the history of the Latin language in
this region may be seen in Ovide Densusianu's _Histoire de la langue
Roumaine_, Paris, 1902.
 Gorra, _Lingue Neolatine_, pp. 66-68.
 Gröber, _Grundriss der romanischen Philologie_, pp. 517 and 524.
 _Cf._ Gröber in _Archiv für lateinische Lexikographie und Grammatik_,
I, p. 210 _ff._
 _Is Modern-Language Teaching a Failure?_ Chicago, 1907.
 _Cf._ Abbott, _History of Rome_, pp. 246-249.
 Schuchardt, _Vokalismus des Vulgärlateins, I_, 103 _ff._
 _Cf._ Gröber, _Archiv für lateinische Lexikographie und Grammatik_,
 Thielmann, _Archiv_, II, 48 _ff._; 157 _ff._
 From the "Laws of the Twelve Tables" of the fifth century B.C. See
Bruns, _Fontes iuris Romani antiqui_, sixth edition, p. 31.
 _Appendix Probi_, in Keil's _Grammatici Latini_, IV, 197 _ff._
 "The Accent in Vulgar and Formal Latin," in _Classical Philology_, II
(1907), 445 _ff._
 Bücheler, _Carmina Latina epigraphica_, No. 53. The originals of all
the bits of verse which are translated in this paper may be found in the
collection whose title is given here. Hereafter reference to this work
will be by number only.
 No. 443.
 No. 92.
 No. 128.
 No. 127.
 No. 876.
 No. 1414.
 No. 765.
 No. 843.
 No. 95.
 No. 1578.
 Nos. 1192 and 1472.
 No. 1037.
 No. 1039.
 G. W. Van Bleek, Quae de hominum post mortem eondicione doceant
carmina sepulcralia Latina.
 No. 1495.
 No. 1496.
 No. 86.
 No. 1465.
 No. 1143.
 No. 1559.
 No. 1433.
 No. 225.
 No. 143.
 No. 83.
 No. 1500.
 No. 190.
 No. 244.
 No. 1499.
 No. 856.
 Society and Politics in Ancient Rome, p. 183.
 No. 562.
 No. 52.
 No. 1251.
 No. 106.
 No. 967.
 No. 152.
 No. 1042.
 No. 1064.
 No. 98.
 Bücheler, _Carmina Latino epigraphica_, No. 899.
 No. 19.
 No. 866.
 No. 863.
 No. 937.
 No. 949.
 No. 943.
 No. 945.
 No. 354.
 _Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum_, IV, 6892.
 Bücheler, No. 928.
 No. 333.
 No. 931.
 No. 933.
 No. 38.
 No. 270.
 Habeat scabiem quisquis ad me venerit novissimus.
 Rex erit qui recte faciet, qui non faciet non erit.
Gallos Cæsar in triumphum ducit, idem in curiam;
Galli bracas deposuerunt, latum clavom sumpserunt.
Brutus quia reges eiecit, consul primus factus est;
Hic quia consoles eiecit, rex postremo factus est.
 Salva Roma, salva patria, salvus est Germanicus.
 _Cf._ Schmid, "Der griechische Roman," _Neue Jahrb._, Bd XIII (1904),
465-85; Wilcken, in _Hermes_, XXVIII, 161 _ff._, and in _Archiv f.
Papyrusforschung_, I, 255 _ff._; Grenfell-Hunt, _Fayûm Towns and Their
Papyri_ (1900), 75 _ff._, and _Rivista di Filologia_, XXIII, I _ff._
 Some of the important late discussions of the Milesian tale are by
Bürger, _Hermes_ (1892), 351 _ff._; Norden, _Die antike Kunstprosa_, II,
602, 604, n.; Rohde, _Kleine Schriften_, II, 25 _ff._; Bürger, _Studien
zur Geschichte d. griech. Romans_, I (_Programm von Blankenburg a. H._,
1902); W. Schmid, _Neue Jahrb. f. d. klass. Alt._ (1904), 474 _ff._;
Lucas, "Zu den Milesiaca des Aristides," _Philologus_, 61 (1907), 16 _ff._
 On the origin of the _prosimetrum cf._ Hirzel, _Der Dialog_, 381
_ff._; Norden, _Die antike Kunstprosa_, 755.
 _Cf._ Rosenbluth, _Beiträge zur Quellenkunde von Petrons Satiren_.
 This theory in the main is suggested by Rohde, _Der griechische
Roman_, 2d ed., 267 (Leipzig, 1900), and by Ribbeck, _Geschichte d. röm.
Dichtung_, 2d ed., III, 150.
 _Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum_, vol. III, pp. 1926-1953. Mommsen's
text with a commentary has been published by H. Blümner, in _Der
Maximaltarif des Diocletian_, Berlin, 1893. A brief description of the
edict may be found in the Pauly-Wissowa _Real-Encyclopadie der classischen
Altertumswissenschaft_, under "Edictum Diocletiani," and K. Bücher has
discussed some points in it in the _Zeitschrift für die gesamte
Staatswissenschaft_, vol. L (1894), pp. 189-219 and 672-717.
 The method of arrangement may be illustrated by an extract from the
first table, which deals with grain and vegetables.
 The present-day prices which are given in the third column of these
two tables are taken from Bulletin No. 77 of the Bureau of Labor, and from
the majority and minority reports of the Select Committee of the U.S.
Senate on "Wages and Prices of Commodities" (Report, No. 912, Documents,
Nos. 421 and 477). In setting down a number to represent the current price
of an article naturally a rough average had to be struck of the rates
charged in different parts of the country. Bulletin No. 77, for instance,
gives the retail price charged for butter at 226 places in 68 different
cities, situated in 39 different States. At one point in Illinois the
price quoted in 1906 was 22 cents, while at a point in Pennsylvania 36
cents was reported, but the prevailing price throughout the country ranged
from 26 to 32, so that these figures were set down in the table. A similar
method has been adopted for the other items. A special difficulty arises
in the case of beef, where the price varies according to the cut. The
price of wheat is not given in the extant fragment of the edict, but has
been calculated by Blümner from statements in ancient writers. So far as
the wages of the ancient and modern workman are concerned we must remember
that the Roman laborer in many cases received "keep" from his employer.
Probably from one-third to three-sevenths should be added to his daily
wage to cover this item. Statistics published by the Department of
Agriculture show that the average wage of American farm laborers per month
during 1910 was $27.50 without board and $19.21 with board. The item of
board, therefore, is three-sevenths of the money paid to the laborer when
he keeps himself. One other point of difference between ancient and modern
working conditions must be borne in mind in attempting a comparison. We
have no means of knowing the length of the Roman working day. However, it
was probably much longer than our modern working day, which, for
convenience' sake, is estimated at eight hours.
 Wholesale price in 1909.
 Receives "keep" also.
 Eight-hour day assumed.
 _Cf._ Report of the Commissioner of Labor, pp. 622-625. In England
between one-third and one-fourth; _cf._ Bulletin, No. 77, p. 345.
 _Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum_, II, 5489.
 Wilmanns, _Exempla Inscriptionum Latinarum_, 1772.
 _Ibid._, 2037.
 _Ibid._, 1859.
 _Ibid._, 2054.
 _Ibid._, 2099.
 _Cic., ad Att._, 5.21. 10-13; 6.1. 5-7; 6.2.7; 6.3.5.
 _Captivi_, 489 _ff._
 _Livy_, 38. 35.
 Plautus, _Pseudolus_, 189.
 Some of the most important discussions of workmen's guilds among the
Romans are to be found in Waltzing's _Etude historique sur les
corporations professionnelles chez les Romains_, 3 vols., Louvain, 1895-9;
Liebenam's _Zur Geschichte und Organisation des römischen Vereinswesen_,
Leipzig, 1890; Ziebarth's _Das Griechische Vereinswesen_, Leipzig, 1896,
pp. 96-110; Kornemann's article, "Collegium," in the Pauly-Wissowa _Real
Encyclopadie_. Other literature is cited by Waltzing, I, pp. 17-30, and by
Kornemann, IV, columns 479-480.
 _Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum_, XI, 5047.
 _Ibid._, V, 7906.
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