This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
In the election of tribunes of the people, if there was not a sufficient number of senatorian candidates, he nominated others from the equestrian order; granting them the liberty, after the expiration of their office, to continue in whichsoever of the two orders they pleased. As most of the knights had been much reduced in their estates by the civil wars, and therefore durst not sit to see the public games in the theatre in the seats allotted to their order, for fear of the penalty provided by the law in that case, he enacted, that none were liable to it, who had themselves, or whose parents had ever, possessed a knight's estate. He took the census of the Roman people street by street: and that the people might not be too often taken from their business to receive the distribution of corn, it was his intention to deliver tickets three times a year for four months respectively; but at their request, he continued the former regulation, that they should receive their share monthly. He revived the former law of elections, endeavouring, by various penalties, to suppress the practice of bribery. Upon the day of election, he distributed to the freedmen of the Fabian and Scaptian tribes, in which he himself was enrolled, a thousand sesterces each, that they might, look for nothing from any of the candidates. Considering it of extreme importance to preserve the Roman people pure, and untainted with a mixture of foreign or servile blood, he not only bestowed the freedom of the city with a sparing hand, but laid some restriction upon the practice of manumitting slaves. When Tiberius interceded with him for the freedom of Rome in behalf of a Greek client of his, he wrote to him for answer, "I shall not grant it, unless he comes himself, and satisfies me that he has just grounds for the application." And when Livia begged the freedom of the city for a tributary Gaul, he refused it, but offered to release him from payment of taxes, saying, " I shall sooner suffer some loss in my exchequer, than that the citizenship of Rome be rendered too common." Not content with interposing many obstacles to either the partial or complete emancipation of slaves, by quibbles respecting the number, condition and difference of those who were to be manumitted; he likewise enacted that none who had been put in chains or tortured, should ever obtain the freedom of the city in any degree. He endeavoured also to restore the old habit and dress of the Romans; and upon seeing once, in an assembly of the people, a crowd in grey cloaks,1 he exclaimed with indignation, "See there, “Romanos rerum dominos, gentemque togatem.2
” “Rome's conquering sons, lords of the wide-spread globe,
Stalk proudly in the toga's graceful robe.
” And he gave orders to the ediles not to permit, in future, any Romans to be present in the forum or circus unless they took off their short coats, and wore the toga.
1 Pullatorum; dusky, either from their dark colour, or their being soiled. The toga was white, and was the distinguishing costume of the sovereign people of Rome, without which, they were not to appear in public; as members of a university are forbidden to do so, without the academical dress, or officers in garrisons out of their regimentals.
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.