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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman Antiquities

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1937

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(Vol. I) Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Roman Antiquities

 p313  (Book II, beginning)

1 1 The city of Rome is situated in the western part of Italy near the river Tiber, which empties into the Tyrrhenian sea about midway along the coast; from the sea the city is distant one hundred and twenty stades. Its first known occupants were certain barbarians, natives of the country, called Sicels, who also occupied many other parts of Italy and of whom not a few distinct memorials are left even to our times; among other things there are even some names of places said to be Sicel names, which show that this people formerly dwelt in the land. 2 They were driven out by the Aborigines, who occupied the place in their turn; these were descendants of the Oenotrians who inhabited the seacoast from Tarentum to Posidonia. They were a band of holy youths consecrated to the gods according to their local custom and sent out by their parents, it is said, to inhabit the country which Heaven should give them. The Oenotrians were an Arcadian tribe who had of their own accord left  p315 the country then called Lycaonia and now Arcadia, in search of a better land, under the leader­ship of Oenotrus, the son of Lycaon, from whom the nation received its name. 3 While the Aborigines occupied this region the first who joined with them in their settlement were the Pelasgians, a wandering people who came from the country then called Haemonia and now Thessaly, where they had lived for some time. After the Pelasgians came the Arcadians from the city of Pallantium, who had chosen as leader of their colony Evander, the son of Hermes and the nymph Themis. These built a town beside one of the seven hills that stands near the middle of Rome, calling the place Pallantium, from their mother-city in Arcadia. 4 Not long afterwards, when Hercules came into Italy on his return home with his army from Erytheia, a certain part of his force, consisting of Greeks, remained behind be settled near Pallantium, beside another of the hills that are now inclosed within the city. This was then called by the inhabitants Saturnian hill, but is now called the Capitoline hill by the Romans. The greater part of these men were Epeans who had abandoned their city in Elis after their country had been laid waste by Hercules.

2 1 In the sixteenth generation after the Trojan war the Albans united both these places into one settlement, surrounding them with a wall and a ditch. For until then there were only folds for cattle and sheep and quarters of the other herdsmen,  p317 as the land round about yielded plenty of grass, not only for winter but also for summer pasture, by reason of the rivers that refresh and water it. 2 The Albans were a mixed nation composed of Pelasgians, of Arcadians, of the Epeans who came from Elis, and, last of all, of the Trojans who came into Italy with Aeneas, the son of Anchises and Aphroditê, after the taking of Troy. It is probable that a barbarian element also from among the neighbouring peoples or a remnant of the ancient inhabitants of the place was mixed with the Greek. But all these people, having lost their tribal designations, came to be called by one common name, Latins, after Latinus, who had been king of this country. 3 The walled city, then, was built by these tribes in the four hundred and thirty-second year after the taking of Troy, and in the seventh Olympiad.​1 The leaders of the colony were twin brothers of the royal family, Romulus being the name of one and Remus of the other. On the mother's side they were descended from Aeneas and were Dardanidae; it is hard to say with certainty who their father was, but the Romans believe them to have been the sons of Mars. 4 However, they did not both continue to be leaders of the colony, since they quarrelled over the command; but after one of them had been slain in the battle that ensued, Romulus, who survived,  p319 became the founder of the city and called it after his own name. The great numbers of which the colony had originally consisted when sent out with him were now reduced to a few, the survivors amounting to three thousand foot and three hundred horse.

3 1 When, therefore, the ditch was finished, the rampart completed and the necessary work on the houses done, and the situation required that they should consider also what form of government they were going to have, Romulus called an assembly of the people by the advice of his grandfather, who had instructed him what to say, and told them that the city, considering that it was newly built, was sufficiently adorned both with public and private buildings; but he asked them all to bear in mind that these were not the most valuable things in cities. 2 For neither in foreign wars, he said, are deep ditches and high ramparts sufficient to give the inhabitants an undisturbed assurance of their safety, but guarantee one thing only, namely, that they shall suffer no harm through being surprised by an incursion of the enemy; nor, again, when civil commotions afflict the State, do private houses and dwellings afford anyone a safe retreat. 3 For these have been contrived by men for the enjoyment of leisure and tranquillity in their lives, and with them neither those of their neighbours who plot against them are prevented from doing mischief nor do those who are plotted against feel any confidence that they are free from danger; and no  p321 city that has gained splendour from these adornments only has ever yet become prosperous and great for a long period, nor, again, has any city from a want of magnificence either in public or in private buildings ever been hindered from becoming great and prosperous. But it is other things that preserve cities and make them great from small beginnings: 4 in foreign wars, strength in arms, which is acquired by courage and exercise; and in civil commotions, unanimity among the citizens, and this, he showed, could be most effectually achieved for the commonwealth by the prudent and just life of each citizen. 5 Those who practise warlike exercises and at the same time are masters of their passions are the greatest ornaments to their country, and these are the men who provide both the commonwealth with impregnable walls and themselves in their private lives with safe refuges; but men of bravery, justice and the other virtues are the result of the form of government when this has been established wisely, and, on the other hand, men who are cowardly, rapacious and the slaves of base passions are the product of evil institutions. 6 He added that he was informed by men who were older and had wide acquaintance with history that of many large colonies planted in fruitful regions some had been immediately destroyed by falling into seditions, and others, after holding out for a short time, had been forced to become subject to their neighbours and to exchange their more fruitful country for a worse fortune, becoming slaves instead of free men; while others, few in numbers and  p323 settling in places that were by no means desirable, had continued, in the first place, to be free themselves, and, in the second place, to command others; and neither the successes of the smaller colonies nor the misfortunes of those that were large were due to any other cause than their form of government. 7 If, therefore, there had been but one mode of life among all mankind which made cities prosperous, the choosing of it would not have been difficult for them; but, as it was, he understood there were many types of government among both the Greeks and barbarians, and out of all of them he heard three especially commended by those who had lived under them, and of these systems none was perfect, but each had some fatal defects inherent in it, so that the choice among them was difficult. He therefore asked them to deliberate at leisure and say whether they would be governed by one man or by a few, or whether they would establish laws and entrust the protection of the public interests to the whole body of the people. 8 "And whichever form of government you establish," he said, "I am ready to comply with your desire, for I neither consider myself unworthy to command nor refuse to obey. So far as honours are concerned, I am satisfied with those you have conferred on me, first, by appointing me leader of the colony, and, again, by giving my name to the city. For of these neither a foreign war nor civil dissension nor time, that destroyer of all that is excellent, nor any other stroke of hostile fortune can deprive me; but both in life and in death these honours will be mine to enjoy for all time to come."

 p325  4 Such was the speech that Romulus, following the instructions of his grandfather, as I have said, made to the people. And they, having consulted together by themselves, returned this answer: "We have no need of a new form of government and we are not going to change the one which our ancestors approved of as the best and handed down to us. In this we show both a deference for the judgment of our elders, whose superior wisdom we recognize in establishing it, and our own satisfaction with our present condition. For we could not reasonably complain of this form of government, which has afforded us under our kings the greatest of human blessings — liberty and the rule over others. 2 Concerning the form of government, then, this is our decision; and to this honour we conceive none has so good a title as you yourself by reason both of your royal birth and of your merit, but above all because we have had you as the leader of our colony and recognize in you great ability and great wisdom, which we have seen displayed quite as much in your actions as in your words." Romulus, hearing this, said it was a great satisfaction to him to be judged worthy of the kingly office by his fellow men, but that he would not accept the honour until Heaven, too, had given its sanction by favourable omens.

5 1 And when the people approved, he appointed a day on which he proposed to consult the auspices concerning the sovereignty; and when the time was come, he rose at break of day and went forth from his tent. Then, taking his stand under the open sky in a clear space and first offering the customary sacrifice, he prayed to King Jupiter and to the  p327 other gods whom he had chosen for the patrons of the colony, that, if it was their pleasure he should be king of the city, some favourable signs might appear in the sky. 2 After this prayer a flash of lightning darted across the sky from the left to the right. Now the Romans look upon the lightning that passes from the left to the right as a favourable omen, having been thus instructed either by the Tyrrhenians or by their own ancestors. Their reason is, in my opinion, that the best seat and station for those who take the auspices is that which looks toward the east, from whence both the sun and the moon rise as well as the planets and fixed stars; and the revolution of the firmament, by which all things contained in it are sometimes above the earth and sometimes beneath it, begins its circular motion thence. 3 Now to those who look toward the east the parts​2 facing toward the north are on the left and those extending toward the south are on the right, and the former are by nature more honourable than the latter. For in the northern parts the pole of the axis upon which the firmament turns is elevated, and of the five zones which girdle the sphere the one called the arctic zone is always visible on this side; whereas in the southern parts the other zone, called the antarctic, is depressed and invisible on that side. 4 So it is reasonable to assume that those signs in the heavens and in mid-air are the best which appear on the best side; and since the parts that are turned toward the east have preëminence over the western parts, and, of the eastern parts themselves, the northern are higher than  p329 the southern, the former would seem to be the best. 5 But some relate that the ancestors of the Romans from very early times, even before they had learned it from the Tyrrhenians, looked upon the lightning that came from the left as a favourable omen. For they say that when Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, was warred upon and besieged by the Tyrrhenians led by their king Mezentius, and was upon the point of making a final sally out of the town, his situation being now desperate, he prayed with lamentations to Jupiter and to the rest of the gods to encourage this sally with favourable omens, and thereupon out of a clear sky there appeared a flash of lightning coming from the left; and as this battle had the happiest outcome, this sign continued to be regarded as favourable by his posterity.

6 1 When Romulus, therefore, upon the occasion mentioned had received the sanction of Heaven also, he called the people together in assembly; and having given them an account of these omens, he was chosen king by them and established it as a custom, to be observed by all his successors, that none of them should accept the office of king or any other magistracy until Heaven, too, had given its sanction. And this custom relating to the auspices long continued to be observed by the Romans, not only while the city was ruled by kings, but also, after the overthrow of the monarchy, in the elections of their consuls, praetors and other legal magistrates; 2 but it has fallen into disuse in our days except as a certain semblance of it remains merely for form's sake. For those who are about to assume the magistracies pass the night out of doors, and rising at break of  p331 day, offer certain prayers under the open sky; whereupon some of the augurs present, who are paid by the State, declare that a flash of lightning coming from the left has given them a sign, although there really has not been any. 3 And the others, taking their omen from this report, depart in order to take over their magistracies, some of them assuming this alone to be sufficient, that no omens have appeared opposing or forbidding their intended action, others acting even in opposition to the will of the god; indeed, there are times when they resort to violence and rather seize than receive the magistracies. 4 Because of such men many armies of the Romans have been utterly destroyed on land, many fleets have been lost with all their people at sea, and other great and dreadful reverses have befallen the commonwealth, some in foreign wars and others in civil dissensions. But the most remarkable and the greatest instance happened in my time when Licinius Crassus, a man inferior to no commander of his age, led his army against the Parthian nation contrary to the will of Heaven and in contempt of the innumerable omens that opposed his expedition. But to tell about the contempt of the divine power that prevails among some people in these days would be a long story.

7 1 Romulus, who was thus chosen king by both men and gods, is allowed to have been a man of great military ability and personal bravery and  p333 of the greatest sagacity in instituting the best kind of government. I shall relate such of his political and military achievements as may be thought worthy of mention in a history; 2 and first I shall speak of the form of government that he instituted, which I regard as the most self-sufficient of all political systems both for peace and for war. This was the plan of it: He divided all the people into three groups, and set over each as leader its most distinguished man. Then he subdivided each of these three groups into ten others, and appointed as many of the bravest men to be the leaders of these also. The larger divisions he called tribes and the smaller curiae, as they are still termed even in our day. 3 These names may be translated into Greek as follows: a tribe by phylê and trittys, and a curia by phratra and lochos;​3 the commanders of the tribes, whom the Romans call tribunes, by phylarchoi and trittyarchoi; and the commanders of the curiae, whom they call curiones, by phratriarchoi and lochagoi. 4 These curiae were again divided by him into ten parts, each commanded by its own leader, who was called decurio in the native language. The people being thus divided and assigned to tribes and curiae,  p335 he divided the land into thirty equal portions and assigned one of them to each curia, having first set apart as much of it as was sufficient for the support of the temples and shrines and also reserved some part of the land for the use of the public. This was one division made by Romulus, both of the men and of the land, which involved the greatest equality for all alike.

8 1 But there was another division again of the men only, which assigned kindly services and honours in accordance with merit, of which I am now going to give an account. He distinguished those who were eminent for their birth, approved for their virtue and wealthy for those times, provided they already had children, from the obscure, the lowly and the poor. Those of the lower rank he called "plebeians" (the Greek would call them dêmotikoi4 or "men of the people"), and those of the higher rank "fathers," either because they had children or from their distinguished birth or for all these reasons. One may suspect that he found his model in the system of government which at that time still prevailed at Athens. 2 For the Athenians had divided their population into two parts, the eupatridai or "well-born," as they called those who were of the noble families and power­ful by reason of their wealth, to whom the government of the city was committed, and the agroikoi5 or "husbandmen," consisting of the rest of the citizens, who had no voice in public  p337 affairs, though in the course of time these, also, were admitted to the offices.​6 3 Those who give the most probable account of the Roman government say it was for the reasons I have given that those men were called "fathers" and their posterity "patricians";​7 but others, considering the matter in the light of their own envy and desirous of casting reproach on the city for the ignoble birth of its founders, say they were not called patricians for the reasons just cited, but because these men only could point out their fathers,​8 — as if all the rest were fugitives and unable to name free men as their fathers. 4 As proof of this they cite the fact that, whenever the kings thought proper to assemble the patricians, the heralds called them both by their own names and by the names of their fathers, whereas public servants summoned the plebeians en masse to the assemblies by the sound of ox horns. But in reality neither the calling of the patricians by the heralds is any proof of their nobility nor is the sound of the horn any mark of the obscurity of the plebeians; but the former was an indication of honour and the latter of expedition, since it was not possible in a short time to call every one of the multitude by name.

9 1 After Romulus had distinguished those of superior rank from their inferiors, he next established laws by which the duties of each were prescribed. The patricians were to be priests, magistrates and  p339 judges, and were to assist him in the management of public affairs, devoting themselves to the business of the city. The plebeians were excused from these duties, as being unacquainted with them and because of their small means wanting leisure to attend to them, but were to apply themselves to agriculture, the breeding of cattle and the exercise of gainful trades. This was to prevent them from engaging in seditions, as happens in other cities when either the magistrates mistreat the lowly, or the common people and the needy envy those in authority. 2 He placed the plebeians as a trust in the hands of the patricians, by allowing every plebeian to choose for his patron any patrician whom he himself wished. In this he improved upon an ancient Greek custom that was in use among the Thessalians for a long time and among the Athenians in the beginning. For the former treated their clients with haughtiness, imposing on them duties unbecoming to free men; and whenever they disobeyed any of their commands, they beat them and misused them in all other respects as if had been slaves they had purchased. The Athenians called their clients thêtes or "hirelings," because they served for hire, and the Thessalians called theirs penestai or "toilers," by the very name reproaching them with their condition. 3 But Romulus not only recommended the relation­ship by a handsome designation, calling this protection of the poor and lowly a "patronage," but he also assigned friendly offices to both parties, thus making the connexion between them a bond of kindness befitting fellow citizens.

 p341  10 The regulations which he then instituted concerning patronage and which long continued in use among the Romans were as follows: It was the duty of the patricians to explain to their clients the laws, of which they were ignorant; to take the same care of them when absent as present, doing everything for them that fathers do for their sons with regard both to money and to the contracts that related to money; to bring suit on behalf of their clients when they were wronged in connexion with contracts, and to defend them against any who brought charges against them; and, to put the matter briefly, to secure for them both in private and in public affairs all that tranquillity of which they particularly stood in need. 2 It was the duty of the clients to assist their patrons in providing dowries for their daughters upon their marriage if the fathers had not sufficient means; to pay their ransom to the enemy if any of them or of their children were taken prisoner; to discharge out of their own purses their patrons' losses in private suits and the pecuniary fines which they were condemned to pay to the State, making these contributions to them not as loans but as thank-offerings; and to share with their patrons the costs incurred in their magistracies and dignities​9 and other public expenditures, in the same manner as if they were their relations. 3 For both patrons and clients alike it was impious and unlawful to accuse each other in law-suits or to bear  p343 witness or to give their votes against each other or to be found in the number of each other's enemies; and whoever was convicted of doing any of these things was guilty of treason by virtue of the law sanctioned by Romulus, and might lawfully be put to death by any man who so wished as a victim devoted to the Jupiter of the infernal regions.​10 For it was customary among the Romans, whenever they wished to put people to death without incurring any penalty, to devote their persons to some god or other, and particularly to the gods of the lower world; and this was the course what Romulus then adopted. 4 Accordingly, the connexions between the clients and patrons continued for many generations, differing in no wise from the ties of blood-relationship and being handed down to their children's children. And it was a matter of great praise to men of illustrious families to have as many clients as possible and not only to preserve the succession of hereditary patronages but also by their own merit to acquire others. And it is incredible how great the contest of goodwill was between the patrons and clients, as each side strove not to be outdone by the other in kindness, the clients feeling that they should render all possible services to their patrons and the patrons wishing by all means not to occasion any trouble to their clients and accepting no gifts of money. So superior was their manner of life to all pleasure; for they measured their happiness by virtue, not by fortune.

11 It was not only in the city itself that the plebeians were under the protection of the patricians,  p345 but every colony of Rome and every city that had joined in alliance and friendship with her and also every city conquered in war had such protectors and patrons among the Romans as they wished. And the senate has often referred the controversies of these cities and nations to their Roman patrons and regarded their decisions binding. 2 And indeed, so secure was the Romans' harmony, which owed its birth to the regulations of Romulus, that they never in the course of six hundred and thirty years​11 proceeded to bloodshed and mutual slaughter, though many great controversies arose between the populace and their magistrates concerning public policy, as is apt to happen in all cities, whether large or small; 3 but by persuading and informing one another, by yielding in some things and gaining other things from their opponents, who yielded in turn, they settled their disputes in a manner befitting fellow citizens. But from the time that Gaius Gracchus, while holding the tribunician power, destroyed the harmony of the government they have been perpetually slaying and banishing one another from the city and refraining from no irreparable acts in order to gain the upper hand. However, for the narration of these events another occasion will be more suitable.

12 1 As​12 soon as Romulus had regulated these matters he determined to appoint senators to assist  p347 him in administering the public business, and to this end he chose a hundred men from among the patricians, selecting them in the following manner. He himself appointed one, the best out of their whole number, to whom he thought fit to entrust the government of the city​13 whenever he himself should lead the army beyond the borders. 2 He next ordered each of the tribes to choose three men who were then at the age of greatest prudence and were distinguished by their birth. After these nine were chosen he ordered each curia likewise to name three patricians who were the most worthy. Then adding to the first nine, who had been named by the tribes, the ninety who were chosen by the curiae, and appointing as their head the man he himself had first selected, he completed the number of a hundred senators. 3 The name of this council may be expressed in Greek by gerousia or "council of elders," and it is called by the Romans to this day;​14 but whether it received its name from the advanced age of the men who were appointed to it or from their merit, I cannot say for certain. For the ancients used to call the older men and those of greatest merit gerontes or "elders." The members of the senate were called Conscript​15 Fathers, and they retained that name down to my time. This council, also, was a Greek institution. 4 At any rate, the Greek kings, both those who inherited the realms  p349 of their ancestors and those who were elected by the people themselves to be their rulers, had a council composed of the best men, as both Homer and the most ancient of the poets testify; and the authority of the ancient kings was not arbitrary and absolute as it is in our days.

13 1 After​16 Romulus had also instituted the senatorial body, consisting of the hundred men, he perceived, we may suppose, that he would also require a body of young men whose services he could use both for the guarding of his person and for urgent business, and accordingly he chose three hundred men, the most robust of body and from the most illustrious families, whom the curiae named in the same manner that they had named the senators, each curia choosing ten young men; and these he kept always about his person. 2 They were all called by one common name, celeres; according to most writers this was because of the "celerity" required in the services they were to perform (for those who are ready and quick at their tasks the Romans call celeres), but Valerius Antias says that they were thus named after their commander. 3 For among them, also, the most distinguished man was their commander; under him were three centurions, and under these in turn were others who held the inferior commands. In the city these celeres constantly attended Romulus, armed with spears, and executed his orders; and on campaigns they charged before him and defended his person. And as a  p351 rule it was they who gave a favourable issue to the contest, as they were the first to engage in battle and the last of all to desist. They fought on horseback where there was level ground favourable for cavalry manoeuvres, and on foot where it was rough and inconvenient for horses. 4 This custom Romulus borrowed, I believe, from the Lacedaemonians, having learned that among them, also, three hundred of the noblest youths attended the kings as their guards and also as their defenders in war, fighting both on horseback and on foot.

14 1 Having made these regulations, he distinguished the honours and powers which he wished each class to have. For the king he had reserved these prerogatives: in the first place, the supremacy in religious ceremonies and sacrifices and the conduct of everything relating to the worship of the gods; secondly, the guardian­ship of the laws and customs of the country and the general oversight of justice in all cases, whether founded on the law of nature or the civil law; he was also the judge in person the greatest crimes, leaving the lesser to the senators, but seeing to it that no error was made in their decisions; he was to summon the senate and call together the popular assembly, to deliver his opinion first and carry out the decision of the majority. These prerogatives he granted to the king and, in addition, the absolute command in war. 2 To the senate he assigned honour and authority as follows: to deliberate and give their votes concerning everything the king should refer to them, the decision of the majority to prevail. This also Romulus took over from the constitution of the Lacedaemonians; for their kings, too, did not have  p353 arbitrary power to do everything they wished, but the gerousia exercised complete control of public affairs. 3 To the populace he granted these three privileges: to choose magistrates, to ratify laws, and to decide concerning war whenever the king left the decision to them; yet even in these matters their authority was not unrestricted, since the concurrence of the senate was necessary to give effect to their decisions. The people did not give their votes all at the same time, but were summoned to meet by curiae, and whatever was resolved upon by the majority of the curiae was reported to the senate. But in our day this practice is reversed, since the senate does not deliberate upon the resolutions passed by the people, but the people have full power over the decrees of the senate; and which of the two customs is better I leave it open to others to determine. 4 By this division of authority not only were the civil affairs administered in a prudent and orderly manner, but the business of war also was carried on with dispatch and strict obedience. For whenever the king thought proper to lead out his army there was then no necessity for tribunes to be chosen by tribes, or centurions by centuries, or commanders of the horse appointed, nor was it necessary for the army to be numbered or to be divided into centuries or for every man to be assigned to his appropriate post. But the king gave his orders to the tribunes and these to the centurions and they in turn to the decurions, each of whom led out those who were under his command; and whether the whole army or part of it was called, at a single  p355 summons they presented themselves ready with arms in hand at the designated post.

15 1 By these institutions Romulus sufficiently regulated and suitably disposed the city both for peace and for war: and he made it large and populous by the following means. 2 In the first place, he obliged the inhabitants to bring up all their male children and the first-born of the females, and forbade them to destroy any children under three years of age unless they were maimed or monstrous from their very birth. These he did not forbid their parents to expose, provided they first showed them to their five nearest neighbours and these also approved. Against those who disobeyed this law he fixed various penalties, including the confiscation of half their property. 3 Secondly, finding that many of the cities in Italy were very badly governed, both by tyrannies and by oligarchies, he undertook to welcome and attract to himself the fugitives from these cities, who were very numerous, paying no regard either to their calamities or to their fortunes, provided only they were free men. His purpose was to increase the power of the Romans and to lessen that of their neighbours; but he invented a specious pretext for his course, making it appear that he was showing honour to a god. 4 For he consecrated the place between the Capitol and the citadel which is now called in the language of the Romans "the space between the two groves,"​17 — a term that was really descriptive at that time of the actual conditions, as the place was shaded by thick woods on both sides  p357 where it joined the hills, — and made it an asylum for suppliants. And built a temple there, — but to what god or divinity he dedicated it I cannot say for certain, — he engaged, under the colour of religion, to protect those who fled to it from suffering any harm at the hands of their enemies; and if they chose to remain with him, he promised them citizen­ship and a share of the land he should take from the enemy. And people came flocking thither from all parts, fleeing from their calamities at home; nor had they afterwards any thought of removing to any other place, but were held there by daily instances of his sociability and kindness.

16 1 There was yet a third policy of Romulus, which the Greeks ought to have practised above all others, it being, in my opinion, the best of all political measures, as it laid the most solid foundation for the liberty of the Romans and was no slight factor in raising them to their position of supremacy. It was this: not to slay all the men of military age or to enslave the rest of the population of the cities captured in war or to allow their land to go back to pasturage for sheep, but rather to send settlers thither to possess some part of the country by lot and to make the conquered cities Roman colonies, and even to grant citizen­ship to some of them. 2 By these and other like measures he made the colony great from a small beginning, as the actual results showed; for the number of those who joined with him in founding Rome did not amount to more than three thousand foot nor quite to three hundred horse, whereas he left behind him when he disappeared from among men forty-six thousand foot and about  p359 a thousand horse. 3 Romulus having instituted these measures, not alone the kings who ruled the city after him but also the annual magistrates after them pursued the same policy, with occasional additions, so successfully that the Roman people became inferior in numbers to none of the nations that were accounted the most populous.

17 1 When I compare the customs of the Greeks with these, I can find no reason to extol either those of the Lacedaemonians or of the Thebans or of the Athenians, who pride themselves most on their wisdom; all of whom, jealous of their noble birth and granting citizen­ship to none or to very few (I say nothing of the fact that some even expelled foreigners), not only received no advantage from this haughty attitude, but actually suffered the greatest harm because of it. 2 Thus, the Spartans after their defeat at Leuctra,​18 where they lost seventeen hundred men, were no longer able to restore their city to its former position after that calamity, but shamefully abandoned their supremacy. And the Thebans and Athenians through the single disaster at Chaeronea​19 were deprived by the Macedonians not only of the leader­ship of Greece but at the same time of the liberty they had inherited from their ancestors. 3 But Rome, while engaged in great wars both in Spain and Italy and employed in recovering Sicily and Sardinia, which had revolted, at a time when the situation in Macedonia and Greece had become hostile to her and Carthage was again contending for the supremacy, and when all but a small portion of Italy was not only in open  p361 rebellion but was also drawing upon her the Hannibalic war, as it was called, — though surrounded, I say, by so many dangers at one and the same time, Rome was so far from being overcome by these misfortunes that she derived from them a strength even greater than she had had before, being enabled to meet every danger, thanks to the number of her soldiers, and not, as some imagine, to the favour of Fortune; 4 since for all of Fortune's assistance the city might have been utterly submerged by the single disaster at Cannae, where of six thousand horse only three hundred and seventy survived, and of eighty thousand foot enrolled in the army of the commonwealth little more than three thousand escaped.

18 1 It is not only these institutions of Romulus that I admire, but also those which I am going to relate. He understood that the good government of cities was due to certain causes which all statesmen prate of but few succeed in making effective: first, the favour of the gods, the enjoyment of which gives success to men's every enterprise; next, moderation and justice, as a result of which the citizens, being less disposed to injure one another, are more harmonious, and make honour, rather than the most shameful pleasures, the measure of their happiness; and, lastly, bravery in war, which renders the other virtues also useful to their possessors. 2 And he thought that none of these advantages is the effect of chance, but recognized that good laws and the emulation of worthy pursuits render a State pious, temperate, devoted to justice, and brave  p363 in war. He took great care, therefore, to encourage these, beginning with the worship of the gods and genii. He established temples, sacred precincts and altars, arranged for the setting up of statues, determined the representations and symbols of the gods, and declared their powers, the beneficent gifts which they have made to mankind, the particular festivals that should be celebrated in honour of each god or genius, the sacrifices with which they delight to be honoured by men, as well as the holidays, festal assemblies, days of rest, and everything alike of that nature, in all of which he followed the best customs in use among the Greeks. 3 But he rejected all the traditional myths concerning the gods that contain blasphemies or calumnies against them, looking upon these as wicked, useless and indecent, and unworthy, not only of the gods, but even of good men; and he accustomed people both to think and to speak the best of the gods and to attribute to them no conduct unworthy of their blessed nature.

19 1 Indeed, there is no tradition among the Romans either of Caelus being castrated by his own sons or of Saturn destroying his own offspring to secure himself from their attempts or of Jupiter dethroning Saturn and confining his own father in the dungeon of Tartarus, or, indeed, of wars, wounds, or bonds of the gods, or of their servitude among men. 2 And no festival is observed among them as a day of mourning or by the wearing of black garments and the beating of breasts and the lamentations of women because of the disappearance of deities, such as the Greeks perform in commemorating the rape of Persephonê and the adventures of  p365 Dionysus and all the other things of like nature. And one will see among them, even though their manners are now corrupted, no ecstatic transports, no Corybantic frenzies, no begging under the colour of religion, no bacchanals​20 or secret mysteries, no all-night vigils of men and women together in the temples, nor any other mummery of this kind; but alike in all their words and actions with respect to the gods a reverence is shown such as is seen among neither Greeks nor barbarians. 3 And, — the thing which I myself have marvelled at most, — notwithstanding the influx into Rome of innumerable nations which are under every necessity of worshipping their ancestral gods according to the customs of their respective countries, yet the city has never officially adopted any of those foreign practices, as has been the experience of many cities in the past; but, even though she has, in pursuance of oracles, introduced certain rites from abroad, she celebrates them in accordance with her own traditions, after banishing all fabulous clap-trap. The rites of the Idaean goddess​21 are a case in point; 4 for the praetors perform sacrifices and celebrated games in her honour every year according to the Roman customs, but the priest and priestess of the goddess are Phrygians, and it is they who carry her image in procession through  p367 the city, begging alms in her name according to their custom, and wearing figures upon their breasts​22 and striking their timbrels while their followers play tunes upon their flutes in honour of the Mother of the Gods. 5 But by a law and decree of the senate no native Roman walks in procession through the city arrayed in a parti-coloured robe, begging alms or escorted by flute-players, or worships the god with the Phrygian ceremonies. So cautious are they about admitting any foreign religious customs and so great is their aversion to all pompous display that is wanting in decorum.

20 1 Let no one imagine, however, that I am not sensible that some of the Greek myths are useful to mankind, part of them explaining, as they do, the works of Nature by allegories, others being designed as a consolation for human misfortunes, some freeing the mind of its agitations and terrors and clearing away unsound opinions, and others invented for some other useful purpose. 2 But, though I am as well acquainted as anyone with these matters, nevertheless my attitude toward the myths is one of caution, and I am more inclined to accept the theology of the Romans, when I consider that the advantages from the Greek myths are slight and cannot be of profit to many, but only to those who have examined the end for which they are designed; and this philosophic attitude is shared by few. The great multitude, unacquainted with philosophy,  p369 are prone to take these stories about the gods in the worse sense and to fall into one of two errors: they either despise the gods as buffeted by many misfortunes, or else refrain from none of the most shameful and lawless deeds when they see them attributed to the gods.

21 1 But let the consideration of these matters be left to those who have set aside the theoretical part of philosophy exclusively for their contemplation. To return to the government established by Romulus, I have thought the following things also worthy the notice of history. In the first place, he appointed a great number of persons to carry on the worship of the gods. At any rate, no one could name any other newly-founded city in which so many priests and ministers of the gods were appointed from the beginning. 2 For, apart from those who held family priesthoods, sixty were appointed in his reign to perform by tribes and curiae the public sacrifices on behalf of the commonwealth; I am merely repeating what Terentius Varro, the most learned man of his age, his written in his Antiquities. 3 In the next place, whereas others generally choose in a careless and inconsiderate manner those who are to preside over religious matters, some thinking fit to make public sale of this honour and others disposing of it by lot, he would not allow the priesthoods to be either purchased for money or assigned by lot, but made a law that each curia should choose two men over fifty years of age, of distinguished birth and  p371 exceptional merit, of competent fortune, and without any bodily defects; and he ordered that these should enjoy their honours, not for any fixed period, but for life, freed from military service by their age and from civil burdens by the law.

22 1 And because some rites were to be performed by women, others by children whose fathers and mothers were living,​23 to the end that these also might be administered in the best manner, he ordered that the wives of the priests should be associated with their husbands in the priesthood; and that in the case of any rites which men were forbidden by the law of the country to celebrate, their wives should perform them and their children should assist as their duties required; and that the priests who had no children should choose out of the other families of each curia the most beauti­ful boy and girl, the boy to assist in the rites till the age of manhood, and the girl so long as she remained unmarried. These arrangements also he borrowed, in my opinion, from the practices of the Greeks. 2 For all the duties that are performed in the Greek ceremonies by the maidens whom they call kanêphoroi and arrhêphoroi24 are performed by those whom the Romans call tutulatae,​25 who wear on their heads the same kind of  p373 crowns with which the statues of the Ephesian Artemis are adorned among the Greeks. And all the functions which among the Tyrrhenians and still earlier among the Pelasgians were performed by those they called cadmili26 in the rites of the Curetes and in those of the Great Gods, were performed in the same manner by those attendants of the priests who are now called by the Romans camilli.​27 3 Furthermore, Romulus ordered one soothsayer out of each tribe to be present at the sacrifices. This soothsayer we call hieroskopos or "inspector of the vitals," and the Romans, preserving something of the ancient name, aruspex.​28 He also made a law that all the priests and ministers of the gods should be chosen by the curiae and that their election should be confirmed by those who interpret the will of the gods by the art of divination.

23 1 After he had made these regulations concerning the ministers of the gods, he again, as I have stated,​29 assigned the sacrifices in an appropriate manner to the various curiae, appointing for each of them gods and genii whom they were always to worship, and determined the expenditures for the sacrifices, which were to be paid to them out of the public treasury. 2 The members of each curia performed their appointed sacrifices together with their own  p375 priests, and on holy days they feasted together at their common table. For a banqueting-hall had been built for each curia, and in it there was consecrated, just as in the Greek prytanea, a common table for all the members of the curia. These banqueting-halls had the same name as the curiae themselves, and are called so to our day. 3 This institution, it seems to me, Romulus took over from the practice of the Lacedaemonians in the case of their phiditia,​30 which were then the vogue. It would seem that Lycurgus, who had learned the institution from the Cretans, introduced it at Sparta to the great advantage of his country; for he thereby in time of peace directed the citizens' lives toward frugality and temperance in their daily repasts, and in time of war inspired every man with a sense of shame and concern not to forsake his comrade with whom he had offered libations and sacrifices and shared in common rites. 4 And not alone for his wisdom in these matters does Romulus deserve praise, but also for the frugality of the sacrifices that he appointed for the honouring of the gods, the greatest part of which, if not all, remained to my day, being still performed in the ancient manner. 5 At any rate, I myself have seen in the sacred edifices repasts set before the gods upon ancient wooden tables, in baskets and small earthen plates, consisting of barley bread, cakes and spelt, with the first-offerings of some fruits, and other things of like nature, simple, cheap, and devoid of all vulgar display. I have seen also the libation wines that had been mixed,  p377 not in silver and gold vessels, but in little earthen cups and jugs, and I have greatly admired these men for adhering to the customs of their ancestors and not degenerating from their ancient rites into a boastful magnificence. 6 There are, it is true, other institutions, worthy to be both remembered and related, which were established by Numa Pompilius, who ruled the city after Romulus, a man of consummate wisdom and of rare sagacity in interpreting the will of the gods, and of them I shall speak later; and yet others were added by Tullus Hostilius, the second​31 king after Romulus, and by all the kings who followed him. But the seeds of them were sown and the foundations laid by Romulus, who established the principal rites of their religion.

24 1 Romulus also seems to have been the author of that good discipline in other matters by the observance of which the Romans have kept their commonwealth flourishing for many generations; for he established many good and useful laws, the greater part of them unwritten, but some committed to writing. There is no need for me to mention most of them, but I will give a short account of those which I have admired most of all and which I have regarded as suitable to illustrate the character of the rest of this man's legislation, showing how austere it was, how averse to vice, and how closely it resembled the life of the heroic age. 2 However, I will first observe that all who have established constitutions, barbarian as well as Greek, seem to me to have recognized correctly the general principle that every State, since it consists of many  p379 families, is most likely to enjoy tranquillity​32 when the lives of the individual citizens are untroubled, and to have a very tempestuous time when the private affairs of the citizens are in a bad way, and that every prudent statesman, whether he be a lawgiver or a king, ought to introduce such laws as will make the citizens just and temperate in their lives. 3 Yet by what practices and by what laws this result may be accomplished they do not all seem to me to have understood equally well, but some of them seem to have gone widely and almost completely astray in the principal and fundamental parts of their legislation. 4 For example, in the matter of marriage and commerce with women, from which the lawgiver ought to begin (even as Nature has begun thence to form our lives), some, taking their example from the beasts, have allowed men to have intercourse with women freely and promiscuously, thinking thus to free their lives from the frenzies of love, to save them from murderous jealousy, and to deliver them from many other evils which come upon both private houses and whole States through women. 5 Others have banished this wanton and bestial intercourse from their States by joining a man to one woman; and yet for the preservation of the marriage ties and the chastity of women they have never attempted to make even the slightest regulation whatsoever, but have given up the idea as something impracticable.  p381 6 Others have neither permitted sexual intercourse without marriage, like some barbarians, nor neglected the guarding of their women, like the Lacedaemonians, but have established many laws to keep them within bounds. And some have even appointed a magistrate to look after the good conduct of women; this provision, however, for their guarding was found insufficient and too weak to accomplish its purpose, being incapable of bringing the woman of unvirtuous nature to the necessity of a modest behaviour.

25 1 But Romulus, without giving either to the husband an action against his wife for adultery or for leaving his home without cause, or to the wife an action against her husband on the ground of ill-usage33 or for leaving her without reason, and without making any laws for the returning or recovery of the dowry, or regulating anything of this nature, by a single law which effectually provides for all these things, as the results themselves have shown, led the women to behave themselves with modesty and great decorum. 2 The law was to this effect, that a woman joined to her husband by a holy marriage should share in all his possessions and sacred rites. The ancient Romans designated holy and lawful marriages by the term "farreate,"​34 from the sharing of far, which we call zea;​35 for  p383 this was the ancient and, for a long time, the ordinary food of all the Romans, and their country produces an abundance of excellent spelt. And as we Greeks regard barley as the most ancient grain, and for that reason begin our sacrifices with barley-corns which we call oulai, so the Romans, in the belief that spelt is both the most valuable and the most ancient of grains, in all burnt offerings begin the sacrifice with that.​36 For this custom still remains, not having deteriorated into first-offerings of greater expense. 3 The participation of the wives with their husbands in this holiest and first food and their union with them founded on the sharing of all their fortunes took its name​37 from this sharing of the spelt and forged the compelling bond of an indissoluble union, and there was nothing that could annul these marriages. 4 This law obliged both the married women, as having no other refuge, to conform themselves entirely to the temper of their husbands, and the husbands to rule their wives as necessary and inseparable possessions. 5 Accordingly, if a wife was virtuous and in all things obedient to her husband, she was mistress of the house to the same degree as her husband was master of it, and after the death of her husband she was heir to his property in the same manner as a daughter was to that of her father; that is, if he died without children and intestate, she was mistress of all that he left, and if he had children, she shared equally with them. But if she did any  p385 wrong, the injured party was her judge and determined the degree of her punishment. 6 Other offences, however, were judged by her relations together with her husband; among them was adultery, or where it was found she had drunk wine — a thing which the Greeks would look upon as the least of all faults. For Romulus permitted them to punish both these acts with death, as being the gravest offences women could be guilty of, since he looked upon adultery as the source of reckless folly, and drunkenness as the source of adultery. 7 And both these offences continued for a long time to be punished by the Romans with merciless severity. The wisdom of this law concerning wives is attested by the length of time it was in force; for it is agreed that during the space of five hundred and twenty years no marriage was ever dissolved at Rome. But it is said that in the one hundred and thirty-seventh Olympiad, in the consul­ship of Marcus Pomponius and Gaius Papirius,​38 Spurius Carvilius, a man of distinction, was the first to divorce his wife,​39 and that he was obliged by the censors to swear that he had married for the purpose of having children (his wife, it seems, was barren); yet because of his action, though it was based on necessity, he was ever afterwards hated by the people.

 p387  26 These, then, are the excellent laws which Romulus enacted concerning women, by which he rendered them more observant of propriety in relation to their husbands. But those he established with respect to reverence and dutifulness of children toward their parents, to the end that they should honour and obey them in all things, both in their words and actions, were still more august and of greater dignity and vastly superior to our laws. 2 For those who established the Greek constitutions set a very short time for sons to be under the rule of their fathers, some till the expiration of the third year after they reached manhood, others as long as they continued unmarried, and some till their names were entered in the public registers, as I have learned from the laws of Solon, Pittacus and Charondas, men celebrated for their great wisdom. 3 The punishments, also, which they ordered for disobedience in children toward their parents were not grievous: for they permitted fathers to turn their sons out of doors and to disinherit them, but nothing further. But mild punishments are not sufficient to restrain the folly of youth and its stubborn ways or to give self-control to those who have been heedless of all that is honourable; and accordingly among the Greeks many unseemly deeds are committed by children against their parents. 4 But the lawgiver of the Romans gave virtually full power to the father over his son, even during his whole life, whether he thought proper to imprison him, to scourge him, to put him in chains and keep him at work in the fields, or to put him to death, and this even though the son were already engaged in public affairs, though he were numbered among the highest  p389 magistrates, and though he were celebrated for his zeal for the commonwealth. 5 Indeed, in virtue of this law men of distinction, while delivering speeches from the rostra hostile to the senate and pleasing to the people, have been dragged down from thence and carried away by their fathers to undergo such punishment as these thought fit; and while they were being led away through the Forum, none present, neither consul, tribune, nor the very populace, which was flattered by them and thought all power inferior to its own, could rescue them. 6 I forbear to mention how many brave men, urged by their valour and zeal to proof some noble deed that their fathers had not ordered, have been put to death by those very fathers, as is related of Manlius Torquatus​40 and many others. But concerning them I shall speak in the proper place.

27 1 And not even at this point did the Roman lawgiver stop in giving the father power over the son, but he even allowed him to sell his son, without concerning himself whether this permission might be regarded as cruel and harsher than was compatible with a natural affection. And, — a thing which anyone who has been educated in the lax manners of the Greeks may wonder at above all things and  p391 look upon as harsh and tyrannical, — he even gave leave to the father to make a profit by selling his son as often as three times, thereby giving greater power to the father over his son than to the master over his slaves. 2 For a slave who has once been sold and has later obtained his liberty is his own master ever after, but a son who had once been sold by his father, if he became free, came again under his father's power, and if he was a second time sold and a second time freed, he was still, as at first, his father's slave; but after the third sale he was freed from his father. 3 This law, whether written or unwritten, — I cannot say positively which, — the kings observed in the beginning, looking upon it as the best of all laws; and after the overthrow of the monarchy, when the Romans first decided to expose in the Forum for the consideration of the whole body of citizens all their ancestral customs and laws, together with those introduced from abroad, to the end that the rights of the people might not be changed as often as the powers of the magistrates, the decemvirs, who were authorized by the people to collect and transcribe the laws, recorded it among the rest, and it now stands on the fourth of the Twelve Tables, as they are called, which they then set up in the Forum. 4 And that the decemvirs, who were appointed after three hundred years to transcribe these laws, did not first introduce this law among the Romans, but that, finding it long before in use, they dared not repeal it, I infer from many other considerations and particularly  p393 from the laws of Numa Pompilius, the successor of Romulus, among which there is recorded the following: "If a father gives his son leave to marry a woman who by the laws is to be the sharer of his sacred rites and possessions, he shall no longer have the power of selling his son." Now he would never have written this unless the father had by all former laws been allowed to sell his sons. 5 But enough has been said concerning these matters, and I desire also to give a summary account of the other measures by which Romulus regulated the lives of the private citizens.

28 1 Observing that the means by which the whole body of citizens, the greater part of whom are hard to guide, can be induced to lead a life of moderation, to prefer justice to gain, to cultivate perseverance in hardships, and to look upon nothing as more valuable than virtue, is not oral instruction, but the habitual practice of such employments as lead to each virtue, and knowing that the great mass of men come to practise them through necessity rather than choice, and hence, if there is nothing to restrain them, return to their natural disposition, he appointed slaves and foreigners to exercise those trades that are sedentary and mechanical and promote shameful passions, looking upon them as the destroyers and corruptors both of the bodies and souls of all who practise them; and such trades were for a very long time held in disgrace by the Romans and were carried on by none of the native-born citizens. 2 The only employments he left to free men were two,  p395 agriculture and warfare; for he observed that men so employed become masters of their appetite, are less entangled in illicit love affairs, and follow that kind of covetousness only which leads them, not to injure one another, but to enrich themselves at the expense of the enemy. But, as he regarded each of these occupations, when separate from the other, as incomplete and conducive to fault-finding, instead of appointing one part of the men to till the land and the other to lay waste the enemy's country, according to the practice of the Lacedaemonians,​41 he ordered the same persons to exercise the employments both of husbandmen and soldiers. 3 In time of peace he accustomed them to remain at their tasks in the country, except when it was necessary for them to come to market, upon which occasions they were to meet in the city in order to traffic, and to that end he appointed every ninth​42 day for the markets; and when war came he taught them to perform the duties of soldiers and not to yield to others either in the hardships or advantages that war brought. For he divided equally among them the lands, slaves and money that he took from the enemy, and thus caused them to take part cheerfully in his campaigns.

29 1 In the case of wrongs committed by the citizens against one another he did not permit the trials to be delayed, but caused them to be held promptly, sometimes deciding the suits himself and sometimes referring them to others; and he  p397 proportioned the punishment to the magnitude of the crime. Observing, also, that nothing restrains men from all evil actions so effectually as fear, he contrived many things to inspire it, such as the place where he sat in judgment in the most conspicuous part of the Forum, the very formidable appearance of the soldiers who attended him, three hundred in number, and the rods and axes borne by twelve men,​43 who scourged in the Forum those whose offences deserved it and beheaded others in public who were guilty of the greatest crimes. 2 Such then, was the general character of the government established by Romulus; the details I have mentioned are sufficient to enable one to form a judgment of the rest.

The Editor's Notes:

1 751 B.C.

2 "Parts" in this chapter means regions of the sky.

3 Dionysius is here thinking of these divisions of the people both as political and military units. The ordinary Greek equivalent of "tribe" is phylê, but etymologically trittys is probably the same word as tribus, both originally meaning a "third" in actual practice, however, trittys was used of the third of a tribe. Phratra or phratria, "brotherhood" or "clan," was also the third of a tribe, and the phratries in their organization and rites offer a number of parallels to the curiae (cf. chap. 23). Lochos is a military term, "company," of indefinite size. The phylarchoi were the commanders of the cavalry contingents furnished by each tribe, and the lochagoi were infantry captains. The trittyarchoi and phratriarchoi were simply the heads of their respective political divisions.

4 Both the Latin plebeius and the Greek Dêmotikos are adjectives, "belonging to the plebs or dêmos."

5 Called also geômoroi or geôrgoi.

6 Dionysius ignores the dêmiourgoi (artisans), the third class of the three into which Theseus, according to tradition, divided the population.

7 This is the explanation given by Livy (I.8.7).

8 Cf. Livy X.8.10 (part of a speech): patricios . . . qui patrem ciere possent, id est nihil ultra quam ingenuos. This derivation of patricius from pater and cieo is a good example of Roman etymologizing at its worst.

9 The word γερηφορία should mean literally the "bearing, or enjoyment, of privileges," hence a "position of honour" or a "dignity." Presumably the reference is to priesthoods.

10 i.e. Dis or Pluto.

11 Dionysius ignores the bloodshed in connexion with the slaying of Tiberius Gracchus in 133 and the execution of many Gracchans that followed. The overthrow of Gaius Gracchus occurred at the very beginning of the year 121, which was the year 631 of the City according to Dionysius' reckoning.

12 Cf. Livy I.8.7.

13 The reference is to the praefectus urbi.

14 i.e. senatus.

15 Literally, "enrolled." For the usual explanation of Patres Conscripti see Livy II.1.11.

16 Cf. Livy I.15.8.

17 inter duos lucos; cf. Livy I.8.5‑6.

18 371 B.C.

19 338 B.C.

20 The Bacchic rites, introduced into Rome shortly after the close of the Second Punic War, were soon being celebrated with such licentious excesses and were accompanied by the plotting so many crimes that most drastic action was taken by the senate and consuls in 186 to punish the guilty and prevent all further celebration of the rites. An abstract of the decree passed by the senate (the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus), contained in an official letter of the consuls to some local magistrates in southern Italy, is still preserved on a bronze tablet and is one of our earliest Latin documents. It appears in the Corpus Inscript. Lat. I.196 and X.104, also in F. D. Allen's Remnants of Early Latin, pp28‑31.

21 The official title of Cybelê in Rome was Mater Deum Magna Idaea, commonly shortened to Mater Magna or Mater Idaea. The sacred black stone, which was her symbol, was brought from Pessinus in Asia Minor in 204 B.C., in response to a Sibylline oracle which declared that only thus could Hannibal be driven out of Italy. The games established in her honour were the Megalesia.

22 Polybius twice (XXI.6.7; 37.5) refers to the "figures and pectorals" of the Galli, the priests of Cybelê; but we have no further information regarding them.

23 Patrimi matrimique. This requirement, very familiar in Roman ritual, would not appear to have been so common among the Greeks. Allusions to such a παῖς ἀμφιθαλής are extremely rare, and then only in connexion with festivals or, in one instance, a wedding.

Thayer's Note: See the article Patrimi et Matrimi in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

24 The "basket-bearers" and the "bearers of the symbols (?)" of Athena Polias. But there is great dispute as regards both the spelling and the meaning of the second word.

25 Tutulatae is due to Kiessling's conjecture. The feminine form does not occur elsewhere, but the masculine tutulati is attested by a gloss in Festus (pp354 f.). The word was descriptive of those who wore their hair plaited up in the shape of a cone (tutulus). This was an ancient style of arranging the hair, and was prescribed in the case of the flaminica Dialis.

26 Cadmili is another form resting on conjecture. Elsewhere the word occurs only once in the singular, as a proper name. Cadmilus (sometimes written Casmilus) was one of the Cabeiri worshipped in Samothrace and was identified with Hermes. The name was probably of Oriental origin.

27 The camilli were free-born youths who assisted in the sacrifices of the flamen Dialis; in time, however, the term came to be applied to those assisting in other religious rites. The word was probably introduced from Etruria. Varro connected it with Casmilus (or Cadmilus), but most scholars to‑day reject this derivation.

28 Aruspex or, more properly, haruspex, meant "inspector of the entrails"; but the element haru- is not, as Dionysius supposed, a corruption of hiero-.

29 Chap. 21.2‑3.

30 The Spartan name for συσσίτια, the public messes.

31 Literally, the "third," counting inclusively.

32 Literally, "to sail right," that is, on an even keel. Here, as often in Greek writers, the State is likened to a ship.

33 The term can also mean the mismanagement of her property.

34 Farracius or farraceus is an adjective, "of spelt." It is not used by any extant writer in connexion with marriages; but we do find the participles farreatus and confarreatus thus used, and especially the noun confarreatio. See note 2, p383.

35 Both words mean "spelt," a coarse variety of wheat.

36 The mola salsa.

37 Confarreatio.

38 231 B.C.

39 Gellius (IV.3), Valerius Maximus (II.1.4) and Plutarch (Thes. et Rom. 6) give this same tradition regarding Carvilius, but differ widely as to his date. Gellius is in virtual agreement with Dionysius, but Valerius gives 604 B.C. and Plutarch 524. Moreover, Valerius states elsewhere (II.9.2) that L. Annius repudiated his wife in 307/6, a date confirmed by Livy (IX.43.25). It seems most probable that Dionysius and Gellius are wrong in their date. Scholars who accept this late date admit an earlier voluntary dissolution of marriage or assume that the ancient authors were thinking of different forms of marriage or of different grounds for divorce.

40 The son of the Manlius Torquatus who was consul in 340 B.C. Just before the battle with the Latins at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius the consuls issued strict orders that no Roman should engage in single combat with a Latin on pain of death; but this youth could not resist the taunts of a Tusculan foe, and accepted his challenge. When he returned triumphantly with the spoils of his enemy, his father ordered his death. The portion of the Antiquities in which this incident was related is no longer extant.

41 The Spartan masters were the warrior class and the Helots were primarily tillers of the soil. Nevertheless, each Spartan soldier was accompanied to war by several Helots, who fought as light-armed troops.

42 "Every ninth day," reckoning inclusively, means every eighth day by modern reckoning. The name of these market-days was nundinae, from novem and dies.

43 The lictors; cf. Livy I.8. 2‑3.

Page updated: 18 Jun 09