Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

far, is the surest sign of the real ge- of us have been spent in exploring the nius for philosophical history,

realities of that enchanting region. We Dr Arnold, it is well known, is a transcribe with pleasure Dr Arnold's Whig—perhaps, we may add, an ultra- animated and correct description of Liberal.“ So far from objecting to his it, drawn from actual observation with book on this account, we hail it with the hand of a master. the more satisfaction that it does come from an author of such principles, and

" The territory of the original Rome

during its first period, the true Ager Rotherefore that it can safely be referred to as a work in which the truth of an

manus, could be gone round in a single

day. It did not extend beyond the Tiber cient events is not likely to be disguis

at all, nor probably beyond the Anio ; and ed or perverted to answer the views

on the east and south, where it had most at least of the Conservative party in

room to spread, its limit was between five Great Britain. We are satisfied from

and six miles from the city. This Ager many instances in the volume before Romanus was the exclusive property of us, that he is of an inquisitive, searching the Roman people, that is of the houses ; turn of mind, and that he would deem it did not include the lands conquered himself dishonoured if he concealed or from the Latins, and given back to them altered any well-ascertained facts in again when the Latins became the plebs Roman history. More than this we do or commons of Rome. According to the not desire. We not only do not dis. Augurs, the Ager Romanus was a peculiar like, we positively enjoy, his occasional district in a religious sense ; auspices could introduction of liberal views in what be taken within its bounds which could be we may call Roman politics. We see taken nowhere without them. in them the best guarantee that the

“ And now what was Rome, and what decisive instances against democratic

was the country around it, which have principles, with which all ancient his

both acquired an interest such as can cease tory, and, most of all, Roman history,

only when earth itself shall perish? The abounds, will not be perverted in his

hills of Rome are such as we rarely see in

England, low in height, but with steep and hands, and may be relied on as authen

rocky sides. In early times the natural tic facts against his principles. Pro

wood still remained in patches amidst the vided a writer is candid, ingenuous,

buildings, as at this day it grows here and and liberal, we hold it perfectly imma

there on the green sides of the Monte Tes. terial to the ultimate triumph of truth

taceo. Across the Tiber the ground rises what is the shade of his political opi.

to a greater height than that of the Roman nions. The cause is not worth de hills, but its summit ig a level unbroken fending which cannot be supported by line ; while the heights, which opposite to the testimony of an honest opponent. Rome itself rise immediately from the Every experienced lawyer knows the river, under the names of Janiculus and value of a conscientious but unwilling Vaticanus, then swept away to some diswitness. Enough is to be found in tance from it, and return in their highest their apologist, Thiers, to doom the and boldest form at the Mons Marius, just French Revolution to the eternal exe above the Milvian bridge and the Flamicration of mankind. There is no wri. nian road. Thus to the west the view is ter on America who has brought for immediately bounded; but to the north ward such a host of facts decisive and north-east the eye ranges over the low against republican institutions as Miss ground of the Campagna to the nearest Martineau. whom the Liberals extol line of the Apennines, which closes up, as as the only author who has given a

with a gigantic wall, all the Sabine, Latin,

and Volscian lowlands, while over it are veracious account of the Transatlantic

still distinctly to be seen the high summits democracies ; and we desire no other

of the central Apennines, covered with witness but Dr Arnold to the facts

snow, even at this day, for more than six which demonstrate that it was the

months in the year. South and southextravagant pretensions and ambi

west lies the wide plain of the Campagna ; tion of the commons, which, in the

which, in the

its level li

its level line succeeded by the equally level end, proved fatal to the liberties of line of the sea, which can only be distin Rome.

guished from it by the brighter light reThe Campagna of Rome, the fields flected from its waters. Eastward, after of Latium, the Alban Mount, the Pa- ten miles of plain, the view is bounded by latine Hill, were familiar to the child the Alban hills, a cluster of high bold hood of us all ; and not the least de points rising out of the Campagna, like lightful hours of the youth of many Arran from the sea, on the highest of which, at nearly the same height with the recounting these early events, to which summit of Helvellyn, stood the Temple of we can hardly reconcile ourselves, Jupiter Latiaris, the scene of the common after the rich colouring and graphic worship of all the people of the Latin name. hand of Livy. As an example of the Immediately under this highest point lies way in which he treats this interesting the crater-like basin of the Alban lake; and but difficult part of his subject, we give on its nearer rim might be seen the trees his account of the story of Lucretia. of the grove of Ferentia, where the Latins

in

the exauisite eni

the exquisite episode with which Livy held the great civil assemblies of their na

terminates his first book and narrative tion. Further to the north, on the edge

of the kings of Rome. of the Alban hills, looking towards Rome, was the town and citadel of Tusculum ; “ Now when they came back to Rome, and beyond this, a lower summit, crowned King Tarquinius was at war with the with the walls and towers of Labicum, people of Ardea ; and as the city was seems to connect the Alban hills with the strong, his army lay a long while before it. line of the Apennines just at the spot till it should be forced to yield through fawhere the citadel of Præneste, high up mine. So the Romans had leisure for on the mountain side, marks the opening

feasting and for diverting themselves : and into the country of the Hernicians, and

once Titus and Aruns were supping with into the valleys of the streams that feed

their brother Sextus, and their cousin the Liris.

Tarquinius of Collatia was supping with “ Returning nearer to Rome, the low

them. And they disputed about their land country of the Campagna is broken

wives, whose wife of them all was the by long green swelling ridges, the ground

worthiest lady. Then said Tarquinius of rising and falling, as in the heath country Collatia, Let us go, and see with our of Surrey and Berkshire. The streams

own eyes what our wives are doing, so are dull and sluggish, but the hill sides shall we know which is the worthiest.' above them constantly break away into Upon this they all mounted their horses. little rocky cliffs, where on every ledge the "and rode first to Rome; and there they wild fig now strikes out its branches, and found the wives of Titus, and of Aruns, tufts of broom are clustering, but which in and of Sextus, feasting and making merry. old times formed the natural strength of Then they rode on to Collatia, and it was the citadels of the numerous cities of La

late in the night; but they found Lucretia, tium. Except in these narrow dells, the

the wife of Tarquinius of Collatia, neither present aspect of the country is all bare

feasting, nor yet sleeping, but she was sit. and desolate, with no trees nor any hu- ting with all her handmaids around her. man habitation. But anciently, in the

and all were working at the loom. So time of the early kings of Rome, it was

when they saw this, they all said, “ Lucrefull of independent cities, and, in its popu

tia is the worthiest lady.' And she enterlation and the careful cultivation of its

tained her husband and his kinsmen, and little garden-like farms, must have re

after that they rode back to the camp besembled the most flourishing parts of Lom- fore Ardea. bardy or the Netherlands."

“ But a spirit of wicked passion seized We have already adverted to the upon Sextus, and a few days afterwards he difficulty of determining where fic- went alone to Collatia, and Lucretia retion ends and real history begins in the ceived him hospitably, for he was her hus. early Roman annals, and the scanty band's kinsman. At midnight he arose foundation there is in authentic records, and went to her chamber, and he said that for any of the early legends of their if she yielded not to him he would slay history. Fully alive, however, to the her and one of her slaves with her, and exquisite beauty of these remains, and

would say to her husband that he had slain the influence they had on the Roman

her in her adultery. So when Sextus had history, as well as their importance as

accomplished his wicked purpose he went evincing the lofty character of their

back again to the camp.

" Then Lucretia sent in haste to Rome, infant people, Dr Arnold has adopted

to pray that her father Spurius Lucretius the plan of not rejecting them altoge.

would come to her; and she sent to Ardea ther, but giving them in a simple nar

to summon her husband. Her father rative, something like the Bible, and

brought along with him Publius Valerius, commencing with his ordinary style

and her husband brought with him Lucius when he arrives at events which really Junius, whom men called Brutus. When rest on historic ground. This is cer

they arrived, they asked earnestly, ' Is all tainly much better than entirely re- well?' Then she told them of the wicked jecting them; but, at the same time, it deed of Sextus, and she said, “ If ye be introduces a quaint style of writing, in men, avenge it.' And they all swore to her, that they would avenge it. Then she good King Servius ; and let us meet in our said again, I am not guilty.; yet must I centuries, according as he directed, and too share in the punishment of this deed, let us choose two men year by year to golest any should think that they may be false vern us, instead of a king. Then the to their husbands and live.' And she people met in their centuries in the field drew a knife from her bosom, and stabbed of Mars, and they chose two men to rule herself to the heart.

over them, Lucius Junius, whom men call“ At that sight her husband and her ed Brutus, and Lucius Tarquinius of Col. father cried aloud ; but Lucius drew the latia.' knife from the wound, and held it up, and said, " By this blood I swear that I will

Every classical reader must perceive visit this deed upon King Tarquinius, and

the object which our author had in all his accursed race; neither shall any

view. He has in great part translated man hereafter be king in Rome, lest he do Livy, and he wishes to preserve the the like wickedness.' And he gave the legend which he has rendered immorknife to her husband, and to her father, tal; but he is desirous, at the same and to Publius Valerius. They marveltime, of doing it, as he himself tells led to hear such words from him whom us, in such a manner that it shall be men called dull; but they swore also, impossible for any reader, even the and they took up the body of Lucretia, most illiterate, to imagine that he is and carried it down into the forum ; and recording a real event. It may be they said, " Behold the deeds of the prejudice, and the force of early assowicked family of Tarquinius. All the ciation, but we can hardly reconcile people of Collatia were moved, and 'the ourselves to this Mosaic mode of writmen took up arms, and they set a guard ing the history of the most remote at the gates, that none might go out to events. Every author's style to be carry the tidings to Tarquinius, and they

agreeable, should be natural. The followed Lucius to Rome. There, too, all

reader experiences a disagreeable feel. the people came together, and the crier

ing in coming upon such quaint and persummoned them to assemble before the tribune of the Celeres, for Lucius held that

haps affected passages, after being habioffice. And Lucius spoke to them of all tuated to the flowing and vigorous style the tyranny of Tarquinius and his sons, and

of the author. It would be better, we of the wicked deed of Sextus. And the conceive, to write the whole in one people in their curiæ took back from Tar- uniform manner, and mark the differquinius the sovereign power, which they ence between the legendary and authenhad given him, and they banished him and tic parts by a difference in the type, or all his family. Then the younger men fol. some other equally obvious distinction. lowed Lucius to Ardea, to win over the But this is a trivial matter, affecting army there to join them; and the city was only the commencement of the work; left in the charge of Spurius Lucretius. and ample subject of meditation is sugBut the wicked Tullia fled in haste from gested by many facts and passages in her house, and all, both men and women, its later pages. cursed her as she passed, and prayed that we have previously noticed the the furies of her father's blood might visit decisive evidence which the Cloaca her with vengeance.

Maxima and the treaty with Carthage “ Mean-while King Tarquinius set out in the time of Tarquin afford of the with speed to Rome to put down the tu

early greatness of the Roman monarchy. mult. But Lucius turned aside from the

But we were not aware, till reading road that he might not meet him, and came

Arnold-even Niebuhr has not so disto the camp; and the soldiers joyfully re

tinctly brought out the fact—that at the ceived him, and they drove out the sons of Tarquinius. King Tarquinius came to

time of the expulsion of the Tarquins Rome, but the gates were shut, and they

and the commencement of the Repubdeclared to him from the walls the sen

lic, Rome was already a powerful motence of banishment which had been pass

narchy, whose sway extended from the ed against bim and his family. So he

northern extremity of the Campagna yielded to his fortune, and went to live at

to the rocks of Terracina ; and that it

to the rocks of 1 Care with his sons Titus and Aruns. His was then more powerful than it ever other son, Sextus, went to Gabii, and the was for the first hundred and fifty years people there, remembering how he had of the Commonwealth! The Roman betrayed them to his father, slew him. kingdom is compared by Arnold, under Then the army left the camp before Ardea the last of the kings, to Judea under and went back to Rome. And all men Solomon ; and the fact of a treaty, resaid, “Let us follow the good laws of the corded in Polybius, being in that year

concluded with Carthage, proves that Etruscans fell upon Rome. The result of the state had already acquired consider the war is, indeed, as strangely disguised ation with distant states.

in the poetical story as Charlemagne's in. “ Setting aside," says our author, “the

vasion of Spain is in the romances. Rome tyranny ascribed to Tarquinius, and re

was completely conquered; all the terrimembering that it was his policy to de

tory which the kings had won on the right

bank of the Tiber was now lost. Rome prive the commons of their lately acquired citizenship, and to treat them like subjects

itself was surrendered to the Etruscan

conqueror; his sovereignty was fully acrather than members of the state, the picture given of the wealth and greatness of

knowledged, the Romans gave up their

arms, and recovered their city and terriJudea under Solomon may convey some idea of the state of Rome under its latter

tory on condition of renouncing the use of kings. Powerful amongst surrounding na

iron except for implements of agriculture,

But this bondage did not last long; the tions, exposed to no hostile invasions, with

Etruscan power was broken by a great dea fourishing agriculture and an active

feat sustained before Aricia ; for after the commerce, the country was great and

fall of Rome the conquerors attacked Laprosperous ; and the king was enabled to

tium, and while besieging Aricia, the execute public works of the highest mag

united force of the Latin cities, aided by nificence, and to invest himself with a splendour unknown in the earlier times of

the Greeks of Cumæ, succeeded in de

stroying their army, and in confining their the monarchy."

power to their own side of the Tiber. But mark the effect upon the exter- Still, however, the Romans did not renal power and internal liberties of the cover their territory on the right bank of nation, consequent on the violent that river, and the number of their tribes, change in the Government and esta as has been already noticed, was conseblishment of the Commonwealth, as quently lessened by one third, being reportrayed in the authentic pages of duced from thirty to twenty. this liberal historian.

“ Thus within a short time after the ba

nishment of the last king, the Romans lost “ In the first year of the commonwealth, all their territory on the Etruscan side of the Romans still possessed the dominion the Tiber, and all their dominion over Laenjoyed by their kings; all the cities of tium. A third people were their immedithe coast of Latium, as we have already ate neighbours on the north-east, the Saseen, were subject to them as far as Ter- bines. The cities of the Sabines reached, racina. Within twelve years, we cannot says Varro, from Reate, to the distance of certainly say how much sooner, these were half a day's journey from Rome; that is, all become independent. This is easily according to the varying estimate of a intelligible, if we only take into account day's journey, either seventy-five or an the loss to Rome of an able and absolute hundred stadia, about ten or twelve miles.” king, the natural weakness of an unsettled “It is certain, also, that the first engovernment, and the distractions produced largement of the Roman territory, after by the king's attempts to recover his its great diminution in the Etruscan war, throne. The Latins may have held, as took place towards the north-east, between we are told of the Sabines in this very the Tiber and the Anio ; and here were the time, that their dependent alliance with lands of the only new tribes that were Rome had been concluded with King Tar- added to the Roman nation, for the space quinius, and that as he was king no longer, of more than one hundred and twenty and as his sons had been driven out with years after the establishment of the comhim, all covenants between Latium and monwealth.” Rome were become null and void. But S uch was the disastrous effects of the it is possible also, if the chronology of the revolution which expelled Tarquinius common story of these times can be at all Superbus, even though originating, if depended on, that the Latin cities owed we may believe the story of Lucretia, in their independence to the Etruscan con- a heinous crime on his part, on the exquest of Rome. For that war, which has

ternal power and territorial possessions been given in its poetical version as the

of Rome. Let us next enquire whewar with Porsenna, was really a great out

ther the social condition of the people

the break of the Etruscan power upon the nations southward of Etruria, in the very

was improved by the change, and the front of whom lay the Romans. In the

plebeians reaped those fruits from the very next year after the expulsion of the volent, change of the Government king, according to the common story, and which they were doubtless led to excertainly at some time within the period peci. with which we are now concerned, the “ The most important part," says Ar

nold, “ in the bistory of the first years of appeal, was absolute over life and death. the commonwealth is the tracing, if pos. As for any legislative power, in this period sible, the gradual depression of the com- of the commonwealth, the consuls were mons to that extreme point of misery their own law. No doubt the burghers which led to the institution of the tribune. had their customs, which in all great points ship. We have seen that immediately the consuls would duly observe, because, after the expulsion of the king, the com- otherwise on the expiration of their office mops shared in the advantages of the re- they would be liable to arraignment before volution ; but within a few years we find the curiæ, and to such punishment as that them so oppressed and powerless, that sovereign assembly might please to inflict; their utmost hopes aspired, not to the as. but the commons had no such security, sertion of political equality with the bur and the uncertainty of the consul's judgghers, but merely to the obtaining protec ments was the particular grievance which tion from personal injuries.

afterwards led to the formation of the “ The specific character of their de code of the twelve tables. gradation is stated to have been this ; that “ We are told, however, that within there prevailed among them severe dis- ten years of the first institution of the tress, amounting in many cases to actual consuls, the burghers found it necessary ruin ; that to relieve themselves from their to create a single magistrate with powers poverty, they were in the habit of borrow still more absolute, who was to exercise ing money of the burghers; that the dis- the full sovereignty of a king, and even tress continuing, they became generally without that single check to which the insolvent; and that as the law of debtor kings of Rome had been subjected. The and creditor was exceedingly severe, they Master of the people, that is, of the became liable in their persons to the burghers, or, as he was otherwise called, cruelty of the burghers, were treated by the Dictator, was appointed, it is true, for them as slaves, confined as such in their six months only; and therefore liable, like workhouses, kept to taskwork, and often the consuls, to he arraigned, after the exbeaten at the discretion of their task piration of his office, for any acts of tyranmasters.

ny which he might have committed during Various were the miseries to which its continuance. But whilst he retained the commons were reduced in conse. his office he was as absolute without the quence of the revolution, and inexor- walls of the city as the consuls were able the rigour with which the nobles within them ; neither commoners nor pressed the advantage they had gained burghers had any right of appeal from his by the abolition of the kingly form of sentence, although the latter had enjoyed government. The civil convulsions this protection in the times of the moand general distress, Dr Arnold tells us, narchy.” terminated in the establishment of an At length the misery of the people, exclusive oppressive aristocracy, inter- flowing from the revolution, became rupted occasionally by the legalised so excessive that they could endure it despotism of a single individual.

no longer, and they took the resolution “ Thus the monarchy was exchanged to separate altogether from their opfor an exclusive aristocracy, in which the pressors, and retire to the sacred hill burghers or patricians possessed the whole to found a new Commonwealth. dominion of the state. For mixed as was “ Fifteen years after the expulsion of the influence in the assembly of the cen. Tarquinius, the commons, driven to deturies, and although the burghers through spair by their distress, and exposed with. their clients exercised no small control out protection to the capricious cruelty of over it, still they did not think it safe to the burghers, resolved to endure their intrust it with much power. In the elec- degraded state no longer. The particution of consuls, the centuries could only lars of this second rovolution are as unchoose out of a number of patrician or certain as those of the overthrow of the burgher candidates; and even after this monarchy; but thus much is certain, and election it remained for the burghers in is remarkable, that the commons sought their great council in the curiæ to ratify safety, not victory; they desired to escape it or to annul it, by conferring upon, or from Rome, not to govern it. It may be refusing to the persons so elected the true that the commons who were left in

Imperium ;' in other words, that sove- Rome gathered together on the Aventine, reign power which belonged to the con- the quarter appropriated to their order, suls as the successors of the kings, and and occupied the hill as a fortress ; but it which, except so far as it was limited is universally agreed that the most effiwithin the walls of the city, and a circle of cient part of their body, who were at that one mile without them, by the right of time in the field as soldiers, deserted their

« FöregåendeFortsätt »