previous next

13. [32]

Besides all this, he gives them authority praetorian in name, but kingly in reality. He describes their power, as a power for five years; but he makes it perpetual. For he strengthens it with such bulwarks and defences that it will be quite impossible to deprive them of it against their own consent. Then he adorns them with apparitors, and secretaries, and clerks, and criers, and architects; besides that, with mules, and tents, and centuries, 1 and all sorts of furniture; he draws money for their expenses from the treasury; he supplies them with more money from the allies; he appoints them two hundred surveyors from the equestrian body every year as their personal attendants, and also as ministers and satellites of their power. You have now, O Romans, the form and very appearance of tyrants; you see all the ensigns of power, but not yet the power itself. For, perhaps, some one may say, “Well, what harm do all those men, secretary, lictor, crier, and chicken-feeder do me?” I will tell you. These things are of such a nature that the man who has them without their being conferred by your vote, must seem either a monarch with intolerable power, or if he assumes them as a private individual, a madman.

[33] Just see what great authority they are invested with, and you will say that it is not the insanity of private individuals, but the immoderate arrogance of kings. First of all, they are entrusted with boundless power of acquiring enormous sums of money out of your revenues, not by farming them but by alienating them. In the next place, they are allowed to pursue an inquiry into the conduct of every country and of every nation, without any bench of judges; to punish without any right of appeal being allowed; and to condemn without there being any means of procuring a reversal of their sentence. [34] They will be able for five years to sit in judgment on the consuls, or even on the tribunes of the people themselves; but all that time no one will be able to sit in judgment on them. They will be allowed to fill magisterial offices; but they will not be allowed to be prosecuted. They will have power to purchase lands, from whomsoever they choose, whatever they choose, and at whatever price they choose. They are allowed to establish new colonies, to recruit old ones, to fill all Italy with their colonists; they have absolute authority for visiting every province, for depriving free people of their lands, for giving or taking away kingdoms, whenever they please. They may be at Rome when it is convenient to them; but they have a right also to wander about wherever they like with supreme command, and with a power of sitting in judgment on everything. They are allowed to put an end to all criminal trials; to remove from the tribunals whoever they think fit; to decide by themselves on the most important matters; to delegate their power to a quaestor; to send about surveyors; and to ratify whatever the surveyor has reported to that single decemvir by whom he has been sent.

1 There is, no doubt, some corruption here in the text.

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 Latin (Albert Clark, 1909)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

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

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Rome (Italy) (1)
Italy (Italy) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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