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number of those that were had in the greatest esteem by the ancients, and which was fit to serve as a model for others. He grounds his opinion on a reflection which does great honour to Carthage, by remarking, that, from its foundation to his time, that is upwards of five hundred years, no considerable sedition had disturbed the peace, nor any tyrant oppressed the liberty of Carthage. Indeed, mixed governments, such as that of Carthage, where the power was divided betwixt the nobles and the people, are subject to two inconveniences ; either of degenerating into an abuse of liberty by the seditions of the populace (as frequently happened in Athens, and in all the Grecian republics) or into the oppression of the public liberty by the tyranny of the nobles, as in Athens, Syracuse, Corinth, Thebes, and Rome itself under Sylla and Cesar. It is therefore giving Carthage the highest praise, to observe, that it had found out the art, by the wisdom of its laws, and the harmony of the different parts of its
government, to shun during so long a series of years two rocks that are so dangerous, and on which others so often split.
It were to be wished that some ancient author had left us an accurate and regular description of the customs and laws of this famous republic. For want of some such assistance, we can only give our readers a confused and imperfect idea of them, by collecting the several passages which lie scattered up and down in authors. Christopher Hendrick has obliged the learned world in this particular ; and his work has been of great service to me.
" It is entitled, Garthago, sive Garthaginiensium respublica, sc. Francofurti ad Oderam, ann. 1664.
• The government of Carthage, like that of Sparta and Rome, united three different authorities, which counterpoised and gave mutual assistance to one another. These authorities were, that of the two su. preme magistrates called suffetes ;d that of the senate; and that of the people. There afterwards was added the tribunal of one hundred, which had great credit and influence in the republic.
The Suffetes. The power of the suffetes was only annual, and their authority in Carthage answered to that of the consuls at Rome. In authors they are frequently called kings, dictators, consuls; because they exercised the functions of all three. History does not inform us of the manner of their election. They were empowered to assemble the senate, in which they presided; proposed subjects for deliberation, and told the voices ; & and they likewise presided in all emergent and decisive debates. Their authority was not limited to the city, nor confined to civil affairs; they sometimes had the command of the armies. We find, that when their employment of suffetes expired, they were made pretors, whose office was considerable, since it empowered them to preside in some causes; as also to propose and enact new laws, and call to account the receivers of the public revenues, as
Polyb. 1. vi. p. 493. J This name is derived from a word, which, with the Hebrews and Phenicians, signifies, judges, sophetim.
Ut Romæ consules, sic Carthagine quotannis annui bini reges creabantur. Corn. Nep. in vita Annibalis, c. 7. The great Hannibal was once one of the suffetes.
f Senatum itaque suffetes, quod velut consulare imperium apud eos erat vocaverunt. Liv. I. xxx. n. 7.
: Cum suffetes ad jus dicendum consedissent. Idem. I. xxxiv. n-62.
appears from what Livy relates concerning Hannibal on this head, and which I shall take notice of in the sequel.
The Senate. The senate, composed of persons who were venerable on account of their age, their experience, their birth, their riches, and especially their merit, formed the council of state; and were, if I may use that expression, the soul of the public deliberations. Their number is not exactly known : It must, however, have been very great, since an hundred were selected from it to form a separate assembly, of which I shall immediately have occasion to speak. In the senate, all affairs of consequence were debated, the letters from generals read, the complaints of provinces heard, ambassadors admitted to audience, and peace or war determined, as is seen on many occasions.
When the sentiments and votes were unanimous, the senate decided supremely, and there lay no appeal from it. When there was a division, and the senate could not be brought to an agreement, the affair was then brought before the people, on whom the power of deciding thereby devolved. The reader will easily perceive the great wisdom of this regulation, and how happily it was adapted to crush factions, to produce harmony, and to enforce and corroborate good counsels ; such an assembly being extremely jealous of its authority, and not easily prevailed upon to let it pass into other hands. Of this we have a memorable instance in k Polybius. When after the loss of the battle fought in Africa, at the end of the second Punic war,
Lib. xxxiii. n. 46, 47.
i Arist, loc. cit.
Lib. xv. p. 706, 707
the conditions of peace offered by the victor were read in the senate ; Hannibal, observing that one of the senators opposed them, represented in the strongest terms, that as the safety of the republic lay at stake, it was of the utmost importance for the senators to be unanimous in their resolutions, to prevent such a debate from coming before the people ; and he carried his point. This doubtless laid the foundation, in the infancy of the republic, of the senate's power, and raised its authority to so great a height. "And the same author observes, in another place, that, whilst the senate had the administration of affairs, the state was governed with great wisdom, and successful in all its enterprises.
The People. It appears from every thing related hitherto, that so low as Aristotle's time, who gives so beautiful a draught, and bestows so noble an eulogium
the government of Carthage, the people spontaneously left the care of public affairs, and the chief administration of them, to the senate : and this it was which made the republic so powerful. But things changed afterwards : for the people, grown insolent by their wealth and conquests, and forgetting that they owed these blessings to the prudent conduct of the senate, were desirous of having a share in the government, and arrogated to themselves almost the whole power. From that period, the public affairs were transacted wholly by cabals and factions, which Polybius assigns as one of the chief causes of the ruin of Carthage.
The Tribunal of the Hundred. This was a body composed of an hundred and four persons 3 though
i Polyb. I. vi. p. 494. A. Carth. 487;
often, for brevity's sake, they are called the hundred. These, according to Aristotle, were the same in Carthage as the Ephori in Sparta ; whence it appears, that they were instituted to balance the power of the nobles and senate ; but with this difference, that the Ephori were but five in number, and elected annually; whereas these were perpetual, and were upwards of an hundred. It is believed, that these centumvirs are the same with the hundred judges mentioned by - Justin, who were taken out of the senate, and appointed to inquire into the conduct of their generals. The exhorbitant power of Mago's family, which, by its engrossing the chief employments both of the state and the army, had thereby the sole direction and management of all affairs, gave occasion to this establishment. It was intended as a curb to the authority of their generals, which, whilst the armies were in the field, was almost boundless and absolute ; but, by this institution, it became subject to the laws, by the obligation their generals were under of giving an account of their actions before these judges, on their return from the campaign. Ut hoc metu ita in bello, imperia cogitarent, ut domi judicia legesque respicerent. Of these hundred and four judges, five had a particular jurisdiction superior to that of the rest, but it is not known how long their authority lasted. This council of five was like the council of ten in the Venetian senate. А vacancy in their number could be filled by none but themselves. They also had the power of choosing those who composed the council of the hundred. Their authority was very great, and for that reason nope were
Lib. xvi. c. 2. A. M. 3609. A. Carth 487
Justin. l. xix.