previous next


The Roman citizens who left Rome and went to the Latin colonies could not be made Latins, unless they themselves promoted such a change, and gave in their names themselves. Those men who had been condemned on a capital charge, did not lose their rights as citizens of this city before they were received as citizens of that other city to which they had gone for the sake of changing their abode. Our ancestors took care that they should do so, not by taking away their rights of citizenship, but only their house, and by interdicting them from fire and water within the city. [79] The Roman people on the motion of Lucius Sulla, the dictator, in the comitia centuriata, took away the rights of citizenship from the municipal towns, and at the same time took away their lands. The decree about the lands was ratified, for that the people had power to pass; but their decree concerning the rights of citizenship did not last even as long as the disturbances of the time of Sulla. Shall we then say that Lucius Sulla, victorious as he was, after he had been restored to the republic, could not in the comitia centuriata take away the rights of citizenship from the people of Volaterra, even though they were in arms at the time;—and the Volaterrans to this day enjoy the rights of citizenship in common with ourselves, being not only citizens, but most excellent citizens too;—and allow that Publius Clodius, at a time when the republic was utterly overturned, could take away his rights as a citizen from a man of consular rank, by summoning an assembly, and hiring bands not only of needy citizens, but even of slaves, with Sedulius as their imputed leader, though he declares that on that day he was not in Rome at all? [80] And, if he was not, what could be a more audacious thing than your putting his name to that bill? What could be more desperate than your condition, when, even if you told a lie about it you could not get up any more respectable authority? But if he was the first person who voted for it as he easily might have been, as he was a man who, for want of a house, slept all night in the forum, why should he not swear that he was at Cadiz, when you have proved so very distinctly that you were at Interamna? Do you, then,—you, a man devoted to the people,—think that our rights as citizens, and our freedom, ought to he established on this principle; so that when a tribune of the people brings forward a motion, “Do you approve and determine”
* * * *if a hundred Sedulii should say that they do approve and determine, any one of us may lose our privileges? Our ancestors, then, were not attached to the interests of the people, who with respect to the rights of citizenship and liberty established those principles which neither the power of time, nor the authority of magistrates, nor the decisions of judges, nor the sovereign power of the whole people of Rome, which in all other affairs is most absolute, can undermine. [81] But you, also, you who take men's rights as citizens from them, have also passed a law with respect to public injuries in favour of some fellow of Anagnia, of the name of Maerula, and he on account of that law has erected a statue to you in my house; so that the place itself, in hearing witness to your prodigious injustice, might refute the law and inscription on your statue. And that law was a much greater cause of grief to the citizens of Anagnia than the crimes which that gladiator had committed in that municipal town.

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) (3)
Anagnia (Italy) (2)
Interamna (Italy) (1)
Cadiz (Spain) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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