At the close of the year, there was a thanksgiving, for one day, on account of the advantages obtained in Spain under the conduct and auspices of Appius Claudius, the proconsul; and they sacrificed twenty victims, of the larger kinds. There was also a supplication, for another day, at the temples of Ceres, Liber, and Liberia, because a violent earthquake with the destruction of many houses was announced from the Sabines. When Appius Claudius came home from Spain, the senate voted that he should enter the city in ovation.
The election of consuls now came on: when they were held, after a violent struggle in consequence of the great number of candidates, Lucius Postumius Albinus and Marcus Popilius Laenas were elected consuls. Then Numerius Fabius Buteo, Marcus Matienus, Caius Cicereius, Marcus Furius Crassipes, a second time, Marcus Atilius Serranus, a second time, and Caius Cluvius Saxula, a second time, were chosen praetors.
After the elections were finished, Appius Claudius Centho, entering the city in ovation over the Celtiberians, conveyed to the treasury ten thousand pounds' weight of silver, and five thousand of gold. Cneius Cornelius was inaugurated flamen of Jupiter. In the same year a tablet was hung up in the temple of mother Matuta, with this inscription: —UNDER
THE COMMAND AND AUSPICES OF TIBERIUS SEMPRONIUS GRAC- CHUS, CONSUL, A LEGION AND ARMY OF THE ROMAN PEOPLE SUBDUED SARDINIA; IN WHICH PROVINCE ABOVE EIGHTY THOUSAND OF THE ENEMY WERE KILLED OR TAKEN. HAVING EXECUTED THE BUSINESS OF THE PUBLIC WITH THE HAPPIEST SUCCESS; HAVING RECOVERED THE REVENUES, AND RESTORED THEM to the commonwealth,
—HE BROUGHT HOME THE ARMY SAFE, UNINJURED, AND ENRICHED WITH SPOIL, AND, A SECOND TIME, ENTERED THE CITY OF ROME IN TRIUMPH. IN COMME- MORATION OF WHICH EVENT HE PRESENTED THIS TABLET AS AN OFFERING TO JUPITER. A map of the island of Sardinia was engraved on the tablet, and pictures of the battles fought there were delineated on it.
Several small exhibitions of gladiators were given to the public this year; the only one particularly remarkable, was that of Titus Flamininus, which he gave on occasion of his father's death, and it was accompanied with a donation of meat, a feast, and stage-plays, and lasted four days. Yet, in the whole of this great exhibition, only seventy-four men fought in three days.
The close of this year was rendered memorable by the proposal of a new and import- ant rule, which occupied the state, since it was debated with great emotion. Hitherto, as the law stood, women were as equal- ly capable of receiving inheritances as men.
From which it hap- pened that the wealth of the most illustrious houses was frequent- ly transferred into other families, to the great detriment, as it was generally supposed, of the state; to which it was no small advantage that there should be a sufficiency of wealth to the descendants of distinguished ancestors, by which they might support and do honour to their nobility of birth, which otherwise would form a burden rather than honour to them.
Besides, since with the now growing power of the empire, the riches of private persons also were increasing fear was felt, lest the minds of women, being rather inclined by nature to luxury, and the pursuit of a more elegant routine of life, and deriving from un- bounded wealth incentives to desire, should fall into immoderate expenses and luxury, and should subsequently chance to de- part from the ancient sanctity of manners, so that there would be a change of morals no less than of the manner of living.
To obviate these evils, Quintus Voconius Saxa, plebeian tri- bune, proposed to the people, that “no person who should be rated after the censorship of Aulus Postumius and Quintius [p. 1957]Fulvius should make any woman, whether married or unmar- ried, his heir; also, that no woman, whether married or un- married, should be capable of receiving, by inheritance, goods exceeding the value of one hundred thousand sesterces.”1 Voconius, also, thought it proper to provide that estates should not be exhausted by the number of legacies, which some- times happened. Accordingly he added a clause to his law, that no person should bequeath to any person or persons pro- perty exceeding in value what was to go to the immediate heirs."
This latter clause readily met the general approbation; it appeared reasonable, and calculated to press severely on no- body. Concerning the former clause, by which women were utterly disqualified from receiving inheritances, there were many doubts.
Marcus Cato put an end to all hesitation, having been already, on a former occasion, a most determined adversary and reprover of women, in the defence of the Oppian law, who, although sixty-five years of age, with loud voice and good lungs advocated this law of still greater importance, against them, inveighing, with his usual asperity, against the tyranny of women, and their unsufferable insolence when opulent: on the present occasion, too, he declaimed against the pride and arrogance of the rich matrons, “because they oftentimes, after bringing a great dowry to their husband, kept back and re- tained for themselves a great sum of money, and lent that money on such terms afterwards to their husbands, on their asking it, that as often as they were angry they immediately pressed im- portunately on their husbands, as if they were strange debtors, by a reserved slave who followed them and daily importuned payment.” Moved by indignation at this, they voted for pass- ing the law as Voconius proposed it.