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[27] So the sedition of the younger Gracchus came to an end. Not long afterward a law was enacted to permit the holders to sell the land about which they had quarrelled; for even this had been forbidden by the law of the elder Gracchus. Presently the rich bought the allotments of the poor, or found pretexts for seizing them by force. So the condition of the poor became even worse than it was before, until Spurius Borius, a tribune of the people, brought in a law providing that the work of distributing the public domain should no longer be continued, but that the land should belong to those in possession of it, who should pay rent for it to the people, and that the money so received should be distributed. This distribution was a kind of solace to the poor, but it did not serve to increase the population. By these devices the law of Gracchus (most excellent and useful if it could have been carried out) was once for all frustrated, and a little later the rent itself was abolished at the instance of another tribune. So the piebeians lost everything. Whence resulted a still further decline in the numbers of both citizens and soldiers, and in the revenue from the land and the distribution thereof; and about fifteen years after the enactment of the law of Gracchus, the laws themselves fell into abeyance by reason of the slackness of the judicial proceedings.1

1 The meaning of the last sentence of Sec. 27 is doubtful. Schweighäuser suspected a lacuna. "Desperandum de totius enuntiati inde ab ὄθεν verbo vel emendatione vel enarratione," says Mendelssohn. I have followed the rendering of M. Combes-Dounous.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LEX
    • Smith's Bio, Balbus
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