previous next

[120] In this frame of mind they hastened up to the Capitol with their gladiators. There they took counsel and decided to bribe the populace, hoping that if some would begin to praise the deed others would join in from love of liberty and longing for the republic. They thought that the Roman people were still exactly the same as they had heard that they were at the time when the elder Brutus expelled the kings. They did not perceive that they were counting on two incompatible things, namely, that people could be lovers of liberty and bribe-takers at the same time. The latter class were much easier to find of the two, because the government had been corrupt for a long time. The plebeians were now much mixed with foreign blood, freedmen had equal rights of citizenship with them, and slaves were dressed in the same fashion as their masters. Except in the case of the senatorial rank the same costume was common to slaves and to free citizens. Moreover the distribution of corn to the poor, which took place in Rome only, drew thither the lazy, the beggars, the vagrants of all Italy. The multitude of discharged soldiers no longer returned one by one to their native places as formerly, fearing that some of them might be accused of having engaged in iniquitous wars,1 but were sent in groups to unjust allotments of lands and houses belonging to others. These were now encamped in temples and sacred enclosures under one standard, and one person appointed to lead them to their colony, and as they had already sold their own be longings preparatory to their departure they were in readiness to be bought for any purpose.2

1 The text here is very obscure.

2 This is a very strong picture of the corruption of Roman society at that time and of its incapacity for self-government.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: