The Greek colonies, according to Wachsmuth (Hell. Alterth.
1.99, 100), may be divided into three classes: (1) those settlements
founded by whole races, such as the [p. 1.473]
Ionian, and Dorian colonisation of the islands of the Aegean Sea and of
the coast of Asia Minor; (2) city-colonies founded by cities, which
comprise the trading factories which afterwards became cities; (3)
cleruchies. With the first we are little concerned, for they are rather
migrations of races than foundations of colonies; they did not start as
a small section from a larger unity at home, but were rather parts of
the great inner movement of the Greek races in early times. Besides, it
is not to them that our thoughts turn when we speak of the Greek
colonies. We think rather of the second class, and it is of these that
we shall especially treat here. But a full historical account of all the
separate colonies would be beyond the scope of the present article; for
this the reader is referred to Hermann,
73-90. We shall be able here only to tell generally what were the
different kinds of colonies, the main causes of their foundation, the
principles and method according to which they were established, their
internal relations and development, and the position in which they stood
to the mother-country.
1. The different kinds of Colonies.
“A colony,” says Sir G. C. Lewis (On the
Government of Dependencies,
p. 170), “properly
denotes a body of persons belonging [mainly] to one country and
political community, who, having abandoned that country and
community [hence ἀποικία
form a new and separate society, independent or dependent, in
some district which is wholly or nearly uninhabited, or from
which they expel the ancient inhabitants.” There are
various kinds :--(1) Colonies of Conquest,
Alexander's various colonies in the East. There are none that are
distinctly of this class in early Greek times. A subdivision of this
class are Military Colonies,
such as were to a great
extent the colonies planted by Pericles in Thrace and the
cleruchies. (2) Agricultural Colonies,
alone a nation springs up. The colonies of Magna Graecia and Sicily
are the best examples; the vast wealth of the latter island in
agricultural produce, the home of Ceres and Proserpina, is known to
all. One subdivision of this class is the Pastoral
like the Greeks in the interior of the Cyrenaica
; Grote, 3.449, new ed.
1869), or the Dutch in the Cape Colony. Another subdivision is the
of which we have one example
in Greek history, viz. that of Cyrene, the cultivation of whose
silphium reminds one of the modern sugar plantations, even to the
fact that the labour was performed by negro slaves (Roscher,
Kolonien, Kolonialpolitik und Auswanderung,
26, ed. 3). (3) Commercial Colonies.
colonies, says Roscher (op. cit.
begin as commercial colonies, whatever may be the character they
afterwards assume. They start from factories, established generally
in countries where there are either great natural difficulties to
contend against, or great restrictions on trade, like Naucratis in
Egypt or the modern colonies in China. (For a full account of the
interesting colony of Naucratis, see Quarterly
Jan. 1887, pp. 66-96.) In such colonies the
colonists generally stand to the natives in the position of metics,
and are bound closely together in well-disciplined corporations, for
mutual protection. Such factories, a little more fully developed,
become commercial colonies. Examples are the Phoenician colonies in
Spain (the America of the ancients), and the Greek colonies on the
Pontus, with their large trade in hides, flax, corn, wood, slaves,
and fish (Curtius, Hist. of Greece,
trans.). The Pontic colonies deserve especial notice. The great era
of colonisation inaugurated especially by Miletus and Chalcis,
during the eighth century B.C., was
systematically carried on as a state concern by each city. Miletus
and Chalcis had the two great requirements for the foundation of
commercial colonies, viz. naval supremacy and a vast amount of
capital. Particular commercial routes and grooves of navigation came
to be formed: thus merchants for the Pontus always started from
Miletus, and for Massilia from Phocaea, as Curtius (p. 411) points
out, from whom we can best derive a knowledge of the way in which a
commercial colony arose: “At first temporary fairs on the
coast were held; then places on the opposite shore were
purchased by treaty from the inhabitants; fixed market-places
with storehouses were erected, and agents of the mercantile
houses established in them, who superintended the landing and
sale of the goods. . . . Some of these stations were
subsequently relinquished. Others, the situation of which proved
favourable on account of mercantile advantages, or the
excellence of climate or water, were kept up and enlarged:
finally, a depôt of wares grew into an independent
trading-place, a Hellenic community, and an antitype of the
mother-city.” The colonising of the Pontus by Miletus was
a most thoroughgoing work. Not only did the colonies trade with
their immediate neighbours, especially with the Scythians, who
showed a great adaptability to Greek culture, but several of the
colonies--such as Olbia, Tanais, and Dioscurias--were the
starting-points of caravan routes towards Central Russia, Siberia,
and India (Curtius, op. cit.
colonies themselves are readily induced to found new colonies.
Sinope, itself a colony of Miletus, was the starting-point of much
of the colonisation of the south coast of the Pontus, and by the
middle of the eighth century she had founded Trapezus. As might be
expected, the commercial colonies, to which class by far the
greatest number of the Greek colonies belonged, were all founded on
or near the sea: hence the remark of Cicero (Rep.
2.4, 9) that they were like a Grecian border, woven on to the lands
of the barbarians ( “barbarorum agris quasi attexta quaedam
videtur ora esse Graeciae” ).
2. Causes of Colonisation among the Greeks.
Passing over cases in which a whole state leaves its home before a
conqueror,--as when the inhabitants of Teos, conquered by Harpagus,
sailed away and founded Abdera (Hdt.
); or when, in consequence of civil dissensions, one
party emigrates in anger (for such really found new states, and have
no link whatever with their mother-city),--we may yet fairly ascribe
the name of colony to those settlements founded in consequence of
in which the state
superintended the sending out of the colony, and the colonists
parted in a measure as friends from the metropolis. (An instance is
the founding of Tarentum by the Parthenn, directed by Sparta; Grote,
3.384.) Such [p. 1.474]
would come under Servius's
definition (ad Aen.
1.12) of a colony
which requires that it should be sent out ex
A very fruitful cause of
colonisation was over-population,
consequent poverty and unevenness of wealth which arise in such a
community. Then the wealthy and the upper classes urged the poor to
emigrate, and the latter generally were willing enough to do so,
impelled by hope of better fortunes and love of adventure. A more
extensive cause was a desire to push commerce,
especially in the case of rich communities, as we
have already shown. We cannot say that any of the Greek colonies
were founded, like the New England colonies, by high-souled men
flying before religious persecution. Sometimes religion
seems to have had an influence in
colonisation, as when the god used to order that a tenth of the
inhabitants should leave the country and found a colony, as in the
case of Rhegium: this was, however, due to over-population and bad
seasons (Strabo, 6.1, 6, init.
). A good
summary of the causes of colonisation is to be found in Seneca,
Cons. ad Helviam,
7, 4. Roscher (op. cit.
p. 43) says that the main causes
refer to the four great elements of human life,--family
(over-population), property (commerce), state (political
dissensions), and church (religious motives).
3. Procedure in founding a Colony.
Of course this can only apply to a colony regularly sent out by the
order and approval of the state; otherwise the foundation depended
more or less on accidents, and could not follow any fixed method.
Even when a colony went forth despatched with the good wishes of the
mother-city, we know but imperfectly the exact method followed. The
colonists sent to Brea (C. I. A.,
1.30) are of the
nature of cleruchi, and will be treated of later on. The leader
) appears to have
been appointed, and then to have been himself compelled to find out
where the colony was to be led to. For this he applied to the
Delphic priests; and the great assistance which these priests
rendered to the Greeks in prudent advice as to the sites for their
colonies was “the greatest and most permanent service rendered
by the Delphic oracle” (Curtius, History,
2.39). Delphi, the centre-point of the Apolline worship, was
frequented by Greeks from all parts of the world, and by
conversation with these the priests acquired a very considerable
amount of geographical knowledge, and, sensible men that they were,
used it to direct the colonists who asked their advice. Few failed
to do so (Cic. de Div.
, 3), and hence the number of colonies which considered
Apollo Archegetes as their founder, and the grateful veneration for
Delphi which was felt by the more prosperous colonies (Curtius, op. cit.
2.38). Herodotus (5.42
) notices it as an extraordinary
proceeding on the part of Dorieus that he led the Spartans on a
colony, and yet “did not consult the oracle at Delphi as to
the land he should go to colonise nor do anything which was
customary.” Participation in the colony was generally
left to free choice; but sometimes the colonists were appointed by
the state: thus the inhabitants of Thera, when proposing to colonise
the island of Platea off Libya, picked out by lot one in every two
adult brothers in a family (Hdt. 4.153
and generally, as we shall see, men from various cities joined in
each colonising expedition. Actual invitation of foreign
participants is to be found in the colonies of the Periclean and
subsequent age (Diod. 12.10
; Thuc. 3.92
). The emigrants, prior to
departure, took fire from the sacred hearth of the city which sent
them out, to light therewith the hearth in their new home
s. v. πρυτανεῖα
: cf. Hdt. 1.146
Arrived at their destination, an altar was often erected to Apollo
); then sometimes
unopposed, sometimes after struggles with the natives, they built
their town (if such did not already exist) and the land was divided.
We cannot say for certain what the principle of division was; it
probably varied in different colonies: but as the colonists were
mostly poor men of the same rank, it is most likely that the lots
were generally equal, except probably in the case of the οἰκιστής,
who as leader of the whole
expedition no doubt received material privileges and grants while
alive, as he certainly received divine honours, such as sacrifices
and games, after death (Hdt. 1.167
; Diod. 11.66
; Paus. 3.1
If the memory of who the oekist had been got lost by lapse of time,
some god (mostly Apollo Archegetes, or Hercules) or some hero (e. g.
Iolaus, Paus. 5.17
) was considered as the founder, and divine honours
paid to him as such. When additional settlers were sent to a colony
already established (ἔποικοι
may infer from Thucydides (1.27
ἐπὶ τῇ ἴσῃ καὶ ὁμοίᾳ
that they generally had inferior rights and possessions to the
original colonists (ἄποικοι
Taught often by the cause of distress in the mother-country--or was
it an aristocratic privilege, in order to be a safeguard to the
original colonists, who were likely to become in no long time the
higher classes of the colony? (De Laveleye. Primitive
p. 150, Eng. trans.)--they made laws to
prevent the alienation of the lots; as, for example, at Locri (Aristot. Pol. 2.7, 6
4. Relations between a Metropolis and a Colony.
When a colony separated from its metropolis in anger, there was no
relationship between them. But even when they parted amicably, the
relation was not a political one of government and dependency, but
one of affection, as between parent and child (ὅσης γὰρ ἀξιοῦσι τιμῆς τυγχάνειν οἱ πατέρες παρὰ τῶν
ἐγγόνων, τοσαύτης οἱ κτίσαντες τὰς πόλεις παρὰ τῶν
Dionys. A. R. 3.7
; cf. Plat.
6.754), though as a matter of fact quarrels
often used to arise between the two ; and, as Schömann
remarks (Gr. Alt.
2.92), what united the colonies
with the mother-country was always weaker than what separated them.
What the colonies owed to the mother-country was nothing of the
nature of political submission, but respect (τιμᾷ τὴν μητρόπολιν,
) and dutiful reverence
(τὰ εἰκότα θαυμάζεσθαι
This dutiful reverence was not required outside the sphere of
religious worship; thus, for example, the colonists generally had a
native of the metropolis to officiate as high priest in their
sacrifices (Thuc. 1.25
, and Scholiast):
and it was observed in a few minor ways, such as giving the names of
places in the old country to those of the new--e. g. the river
Crathis in Achaea and Sybaris, the Megarian names in Byzantium
1.121); also the
names [p. 1.475]
Chalcis and Arethusa were most
widespread (Curtius, op. cit.
fact, as Curtius says, 1.462: “The Greeks united, in a far
higher degree than any other nation, an insatiable desire of
penetrating into distant regions with the most faithful love of
home. Wherever they went they took their home with them.”
according to the Greek idea,
were the city
; Thuc. 7.77
). But outside
the sphere of religion there appear to have been few ties. In case
the colony proposed to found another, according to an old custom it
asked a leader from the mother-city (Thuc.
). But they do not as a rule appear to have retained even
the coinage of their mother-city (Lenormant, ap. D. and S. 1.1302);
and it is quite exceptional when we find any political superiority
exercised over the colony. The distances were generally too great,
the interests too varied, and the autonomy of each community was a
principle too deeply rooted in every Greek mind to admit of
voluntary dependence. The policy, too, of commercial colonies must
necessarily be of a jealous nature. Corinth alone tried to found a
colonial dominion by means of her navy: but this led to colonial
war, as between her and Corcyra, and a disruption of the bonds of
filial attachment (Curt. op. cit.
The Corinthians also used to send to their colony Potidaea annual
magistrates, called ἐπιδημιουργοί,
though we may suppose that these had not much power, else they would
not have allowed the Potidaeans to make a truce with Athens, the
enemy of Corinth (Thuc. 1.56
tribute which Cotyora, Cerasus, and Trapezus paid to Sinope was of
the nature of rent: for the land they held had been wrested from the
barbarians by the inhabitants of Sinope, and so of right belonged
strictly to them (Xen. Anab. 5.5
). Except under special circumstances and conventions, the
citizens of a colony were not citizens of the mother-city, though it
was not a Greek principle, as it was a Roman one, that no one could
be citizens of two communities at once. True, the Corinthians offer
the citizenship of Epidamnus to whosoever will go on the colony they
were projecting (Thuc. 1.27
we might suppose that a fortiori
Corinthians had the citizenship: but the Epidamnians were in great
straits, and had put themselves entirely into the hands of the
Corinthians. The assertion of Timaeus, that the Epizephyrian
Locrians and the Locrians of Greece had reciprocally rights of
citizenship, among many other assertions of that untrustworthy
historian, is controverted by Polybius in his detailed criticism of
Timaeus's account of the Locrians (Plb.
). Under stress of
internal dissensions or any other grievous reverse (cf. Thuc. 5.106
), the colonists often applied
for aid to the states which founded them,--“as ill-used
children to their parents” (Diod. Vat.
x. p. 39),--as the Syracusans did to the Corinthians in
the time of Timoleon (Plut. Tim. 23
but generally the colonists were sufficiently prosperous not to
require any assistance. Conversely it was considered disgraceful for
a colony not to aid its parent state when the latter was subject to
unjust attacks (Thuc. l.c.
), much more was
it impious to bear arms against her (Hdt.
): disputes between
colony and metropolis it was considered should be settled by
arbitration; at least such are the offers of the Corcyreans to the
Corinthians (Thuc. 1.28
). Yet we not
rarely find instances of colonies becoming violently opposed to
their parent states. Notable examples are Corcyra to Corinth, and
Amphipolis to Athens (Thuc. 5.11
Frequently the colonies, being more enterprising and so acquiring
greater prosperity, came to despise their old-world parent state,
the more so as the colonies were as a rule far more democratic than
their founders, and in their pride of wealth lost all reverence for
sentiment and antiquity: thus Sybaris proceeded to set up Olympic
games of her own (Ath. 12.522
leads us to consider next--
5. The political career of Colonies.
In this connexion we must begin with a quotation from Plato
4.708), where he shows “how
colonists, like a swarm of bees, if entirely of one community,
similar in race, language, laws, and religion, will be
intolerant of any laws and customs at all different from those
of the old home, even though the injustice of these laws and
customs has been the cause of their enforced expatriation;
whereas a mixed population is quite ready to listen to new laws,
though it may take years before the founder who is also the
legislator may be able to make the different elements of the
colony pull well together.” Now it is to be carefully
borne in mind that the population forming the Greek colonies were
nearly always of different cities and races. Ionians, it is true,
who had the gift of accommodating themselves to every locality,
generally appear in the front; Chalcis and Miletus, as we saw, were
the heads of Greek colonisation: but they only formed the centre
body of a population which contained a blending of “Achaean
heroism and Dorian energy and perseverance” ; “they
were ports which conducted emigration in certain
directions.” It would be folly to suppose that Miletus of
herself could found eighty colonies in a few generations (Curtius,
1.463, 470). The colonists then
were generally of a mixed race of Hellenes; and when they had
founded their colony, they mixed the race still further by
intercourse and intermarrying with the natives. This is especially
noticed by Grote in the case of Italy and Sicily (3.377), Gaul (ib.
397), Cyrene (ib. 455), and Olbia (12.298). In countries like Lower
Italy and Sicily, which had been colonised by Phoenicians, who had
also transported thither vast numbers of people of kin with the
Greeks, and where there had thus grown up by successive layers a
population related to the Greeks, there eventually was developed,
when the great colonising of the Corinthians and the Rhodians was
effected, a new vigorous homogeneous
nationality, just as in bygone times in the old country from the
Pelasgian tribes arose the Hellenic nation (Curtius, op. cit.
In connexion with the Greeks of Italy and Sicily, it is worthy of
notice that those settled around the Tarentine gulf had Amphictyonic
institutions, and a common point of religious assemblage in the
festivals of the Lacinian Hera, presided over by the Crotoniates
). Doubtless union of
religious worship and union in common danger united other complexes
of neighbouring towns in similar Amphictyonies: [p. 1.476]
e. g. the altar of Apollo Archegetes at Naxos appears
to have united the Sicilians (Thuc. 6.3
cf. Grote, 3.359). And the course of development in the more
prosperous colonies ran much faster than in the mother-country. We
look to America now to solve many of the political and social
problems which are beginning to be sorely felt; and the evidence to
be derived from the Greek colonies does not prove our expectation to
be unnatural. A population like that of the Greek colonies,
originally mixed, mixed still further by intercourse with the
natives, not tied down by any feeling of reverence for or submission
to the laws and customs of priests and nobles, with wealth ever
increasing, vigorous, independent, could not tolerate an
aristocratic system of government; it had to yield to the
timocratic: the aristocracy of birth and worth gave place to the
oligarchy of wealth. This important step on the road to democracy
brought with it one great advantage, viz. codification and
publication of the laws. In the seventh century, besides Draco, we
find Zaleucus publishing laws for the Epizephyrian Locrians, and
Charondas for Catana, and doubtless for other cities also of Italy
and Sicily (Aristot. Pol. 2.9,
; cf. Plat. Rep.
10.599 E). Every one had
before him the prospect of success in the race for wealth: the
struggle came to be between the rich and the poor, as always in
commercial communities. The aristocracy of Miletus had vanished by
the middle of the seventh century; and amidst that city's great
wealth, which was as ever accompanied by its shadow, great poverty,
there had appeared opposite to one another the two main classes of
today, the Capitalists and the Labourers (πλουτίς καὶ χειρομάχα,
§ 32=2.298, ed. Reiske). Where the rich, who
are the few, gained the upper hand, we find oligarchies; as at
Rhegium (Heracl. Pont. 25), Croton (Iamblich. Pythag.
§ 45), Locri (Plb. 12.16
Agrigentum (D. L. 8.66
), the power was
in the hands of a Thousand (οἱ
). Where the poor had the upper hand, the result
was democracy. We hear of demagogues at Sybaris long before those at
Athens (Diod. xii. <*>). Close on demagogues follow
tyrants: the President, as at Miletus (Aristot. Pol. 8.5.8
the tyrant. The line is hard to draw : Telys of Sybaris is to
) a demagogue, to Herodotus
) a tyrant. “The great
majority of ancient tyrants,” says Aristotle (l.c.
§ 6), “had been
In the colonies then, just as now the dollar is almighty, so
“money, money was the man,” as Pindar
2, 11), quoting “the Argive
man” Aristodemus, reminded Xenocrates of Agrigentum. And
there was plenty of it: hence more beautiful cities and a more
brilliant and heightened life than in the mother-country. Without
going so far as Roscher (op. cit.
p. 69), in
asserting that in every branch of higher art and science Hellas
proper was indebted for her first stimulus to her colonies, yet much
of early Greek philosophy came from the higher minds of Magna
Graecia and Sicily,--Xenophanes, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Parmenides;
and owing to the rationalistic character of colonial life generally,
which mocks at everything ideal, we are not surprised to find that
comedy and travesty owed their origin principally to the same
region. Poverty had all along been foster-sister of Hellas (Hdt. 7.102
); but the luxury of Sybaris is
proverbial, Sicilian cookery was famous for delicacy throughout the
Greek world (Plat. Rep.
3.404 D), the poorest men in
Cyrene wore rings worth 10 minae (Ael. VH
), and the Agrigentines built as if they were to
live for ever, and dined as if they were anxious to make the most of
the last day of existence (Ael. VH
; cf. Roscher, op. cit.
6. The Athenian Colonies.
These belong to a later period than the greater mass of the other
Greek colonies, and differ in the intention with which they were
founded. They were more of the nature of cleruchies; but differ from
cleruchies in the strict sense in that they were not planted on
Hellenic land from which the inhabitants had been expelled, but were
settlements effected on the territory of barbarian tribes. They
were, however, similar to the cleruchies in the whole
arrangement of their planting being directed by the
state. We have remaining part of a charter (C. I. A.
1.31= Hicks, Greek Historical Inscriptions,
directing the foundation of one of these colonies, that of Brea (cf.
Plut. Per. 11
) in Thrace, which
was pre-eminently the country in which such colonies were founded,
owing to its great wealth in wood and metals. Such a charter was
(Harpocr. s. v.).
By the charter referred to a certain Democlides is appointed as
leader of the colony (οἰκιστής
rider to the charter confined participation in the colony to the
Zeugitae and Thetes, which shows one of the main purposes of the
colonising policy of Pericles, viz. to free the city of the idle and
so turbulent mob (Plut. l.c.
provisions as regards the religious duties to be observed by the
colonists towards the mother-city were further stated, such as
sending an ox for sacrifice at the Panathenaea: and a very strict
proviso was enacted that this charter was to be final, so that the
colonists should have fixity of tenure, and not be liable to be
dispossessed by any vote of the easily-moved democracy at home.
Orders were given to be ready to depart within thirty days. The
state supplied arms and money for the colonists (cf. Arg. to Dem.
). When the colonists arrived, the lands
were distributed to the colonists by γεωνόμοι,
which had been previously divided by
32, 14). The oekist of such a colony
received all the honours which the oekist of the colonies of earlier
days had received (cf. Hagnon at Amphipolis, Thuc. 5.11
). The great national Hellenic colony founded
at Thurii under the superintendence of Athens, in 443 B.C., was established with the greatest
method and completeness. There were very few Athenians among the
colonists. It was connected with Athens by but a very slender tie,
and was not mentioned as one of her allies in Thucydides'
enumeration (2.9). A full account is given in Grote (5.277) and
). The colony of
Amphipolis, founded about the same time, 437 B.C., was also of a very mixed population. It differed
from Thurii, as it was founded partly because it was a convenient
centre for getting ship timber from, and also for working the gold
and silver mines in the neighbourhood; but principally it served
military [p. 1.477]
purposes, as being close to the
bridge over the Strymon (Thuc. 4.102
Hence it always remained a regular Athenian dependency. This forms a
7. The Athenian Cleruchies.
“All colonies in their relation to the mother-city,”
says Roscher (op. cit.
p. 44), “may be
divided into ἀποικίαι
” --i. e.
are independent or dependent. But the ancients did not observe this
distinction. Strabo calls all colonies without exception ἀποικίαι.
) calls ἔποικοι
those whom Diodorus and Plutarch, in
relating the same events, call κληροῦχοι.
However, Herodotus (5.77
) applies the term
to those who were
settled on the land of the hippobatae at Chalcis. Thucydides uses it
(3.50) with reference to the Lesbian colonists, and Aristophanes
(Aristoph. Cl. 205
that it was a term frequently used. Roscher (p. 45) lays it down as
a law that the system of ἀποικίαι
gives place to that of κληρουχίαι,
according as a state advances to a higher stage of development.
The main characteristics
of the Athenian
cleruchies were that they consisted solely of Athenians, were
settled on Hellenic land, and were dependent. There were doubtless
cleruchies sent out by other states, e. g. the Lerii from Miletus
(Boeckh, Staatshaushaltung der Athener,
3); but it is of the Athenian cleruchies that we alone have any
were “to relieve the city
of the idle and troublesome mob, to alleviate the distress of
the poorer classes, to inspire fear into the allies, and keep
watch that they should not take any hostile steps against
Athens” (Plut. Per. 11
additional reason was sometimes to secure a supply of corn, as in
the case of the colony to Hadria, which colony also served to
protect the surrounding seas from pirates. See the decree relative
to Hadria in Boeckh's Seewesen,
p. 463. The sending
out of cleruchies formed one of the recognised portions of the
democratic programme (Aristoph. Cl.
). In their military aspect they corresponded to the Roman
colonies. The Greek writers often call the Roman colonists κληροῦχοι
(Dion. H. 8.14; Plut. Flam. 2
), and conversely Cicero
(de Nat. Deor.
1.26, 72) calls the Athenian
cleruchs sent to Samos “landgrabbers” (agripetae
). The first cleruchs were those
sent to occupy the land of the hippobatae at Chalcis, about 510 B.C.,
“the first Hellenic town against which the right of the
conqueror was enforced with harsh severity” (Curtius,
1.421, note 4) gives
a list of the cleruchs sent out between 460 and 427; and, even where
the numbers are given, they amount to 9,450, and this does not
reckon the cleruchs sent to Lemnos, Imbros, or Aegina.
adopted in sending out a
cleruchy was doubtless similar to that of state-directed colonies,
viz. by ordinary bill brought by the senate before the people, which
defined the principal conditions on which the cleruchy was founded.
The poorer classes of all the ten tribes (see p. 336 of an important
Mémoire sur les Colonies
Athéniennes au vme et ivme siècles,
by M. P.
Foucart, among the Mémoires
présentés par divers savants à
l'Académie des Inscriptions,
vol. ix. pp.
388-411) were invited to send in their names, and the lot decided
who were to get the lands, which were doubtless measured out prior
to the departure of the colonists. They were led by an ἀποικιστὴς
(Arg. to Dem. de Chers.
and to be such a leader was esteemed a great honour (Paus. 1.27
All the prayers and sacrifices for the success of the cleruchy were
made on behalf of the state and at state expense, whereas in the
the consulting of the
oracle and all religious duties were left to the initiative of the
colonists and their leader (Foucart, p. 340).
As to the relations of the cleruchs to Athens:
they remained Athenian citizens, as may be seen from inscriptions
from the fifth century B.C.,--e. g. from
Melos, Ἐπόνφης Ἀθηναῖος Πανδιονίδος
(Bull. de Corr.
1.44),--down to Roman times. The Lemnian and Imbrian
cleruchs were Athenian citizens (Dem. Phil.
a list of killed we have Λημνίων ἐγ
names with the Athenian tribes they
belonged to added to them (C. I. A.
official titles for the cleruchs were such as ὁ δῆμος ὁ ἐν Ἡφαιστίᾳ
§ 13; cf. C. I. A.
2.284), Ἀθηναίων οἱ ἐν Ποτιδαίᾳ
§ 10), οἱ ἐν
(C. I. A.
(2) There seems no definite proof that the state retained the
supreme ownership of the lands; for in the inscription of 377 B.C.
(C. I. A.
2.17, 1. 29, 37) which Foucart refers
to, and which speaks of private and public
possessions in the land of the allies, the public
possessions refer to mines and other such state
property. (3) That the cleruchs paid tribute, though maintained by
Boeckh (op. cit.
1.508), has been completely
disproved by Kirchhoff ( Ueber die Tributpflichtigkeit der
in the Abhandl. der Berliner
Akad. d. Wissensch.
1873, pp. 1-35). He divides the
Athenian cleruchies into, on the one hand, those settled on lands
entirely conquered, from which the inhabitants were driven out, and
those acquired by capitulation; and, on the other, those acquired in
an amicable manner. In the former of these (e. g. Histiaea, Aegina,
Potidaea, Scione, Torone) he proves that the lists which set down
the amount of tribute to be paid do not refer to the time when the
cleruchies held the land, but to a preceding time: for example,
Hestiaea pays a tribute according to two lists; but these lists
belong to 454 B.C., not to 446, as Boeckh
says; and the Hestiaeans never appear on the lists after 446, the
time cleruchs were sent to occupy their lands. As regards the second
class of cleruchies (e. g. the Chersonesitae, Andros, Naxos,
&c.), the sudden lowerings of the tribute appear
inexplicable, unless we suppose it to be a compensation for the
cession of their lands to Athenian cleruchs: for example, Andros (p.
27) had its tribute lowered between 427 and 425 from 12 to 6
talents, Imbros (p. 30) from 2 to 1 talent between 444 and 442; cf.
Naxos (p. 29), Lemnos (p. 34). (4) There is no evidence as to
whether or not the cleruchi could alienate their lands: but their
military functions render such a supposition unlikely. For a similar
reason, as a general rule the cleruchi had to reside on their land.
That the cleruchi of Lesbos were allowed to let the lands to the
original owners for a rent and reside themselves at Athens (Thuc. 3.50
) is highly exceptional. [p. 1.478]
(5) The cleruchi certainly paid taxes for
their property to their own cleruchic community (Aristot.
2.6). For such property as some few may have
retained in Attica, it is most likely that they had to pay εἰσφοραὶ
when such were required; but
from muntera personalia,
such as the various
liturgies, they were of course exempt, as being absent from Athens
on state service (Harpocr. s. v. κληροῦχοι
: cf. Dem. de Symm.
16). (6) As we have seen from the list of killed, the cleruchi
served in the Athenian army on certain occasions (cf. Hdt. 8.46
); and, even when in their cleruchy, they had to obey
strictly whatever orders for military service arrived from Athens
; [Dem.] Epist.
§ 16). Beside the cleruchi, there was
generally a cavalry force, commanded in the case of Lemnos by an
1.27), which was supported by the cleruchi, and
that as it seems sometimes grudgingly (Hyperid. pro
§ 13). (7) There appear to have been civil
magistrates, too, occasionally sent by Athens to the cleruchies.
Such are the ἄρχοντες
(Antiphon. de Caed. Herodis,
§ 47), which
are no doubt the same as the ἐπίσκοποι
(Boeckh, op. cit.
i.3 480; cf. Aristoph. Birds 1050
). In later times we find ἐπιμεληταὶ
sent from Athens, as e. g.
to Delos (C. I. G.
2286), Haliartos and Paros
(Boeckh, op. cit.
507, and notes). (8) As regards jurisdiction, as far as we can judge
from the very fragmentary inscription in reference to the cleruchi
of Hestiaea (C. I. A.
1.28, 29), some cases had to be
tried within thirty days (δίκαι
) before the Nautodicae at Athens; others before
judges chosen by lot out of the cleruchi themselves. The really
important cases were tried at Athens: e. g. the murder of Herodes.
(9) Touching religion, a certain portion, generally a tenth of
cleruchic lands, was set apart for the gods (Thuc. 3.50
). The cleruchi appear to have worshipped
Athenian gods generally, though sometimes the native gods also
(Gilbert, op. cit.
1.422). Each cleruchy
sent an ox to be sacrificed at the Panathenaea (Schol. on Aristoph. Cl. 386
; cf. C. I.
1.31). The Athenians also associated the cleruchies
in their sacrifices. (See an inscription of the second century in
Foucart, p. 384.)
But the cleruchi possessed a certain
They had the right of coining money, though only
copper: e. g. the coins of Hephaestia and Myrina in Lemnos reproduce
Attic emblems (Pallas and the owl), after the Athenian cleruchi had
gone there in 387, while the coins prior to this have the attributes
of Hermes and the Dioscuri (Foucart, p. 372). Towards the natives,
who often, as in the case of Imbros and Lemnos, were reduced to the
state of metics (Foucart, p. 393), the Attic cleruchi appear to have
formed a strictly closed body, neither intermarrying (such indeed
was not allowed by Attic law, Dem. Neaer.
17) nor having more intercourse than was absolutely necessary. The
of the cleruchic state
was a miniature Athens, and Foucart (p. 373 ff.) has shown how their
political procedure, and even the very names of their officers,
changed with the changes at Athens.
Thus we find senate and people at Lemnos (C. I. A.
2.592) and Imbros (Conze, Reise auf den lnseln des
p. 88), and a prytaneum at
Hephaestia in Lemnos (C. I. A.
political procedure consisted of preliminary discussion by the
senate, and afterwards debate in the assembly, e. g. at Salamis
(C. I. A.
2.470, 1. 56: cf. 469, 1. 79; 594, 1.
22). We have some decrees of cleruchi already mentioned, though of
rather late date (C. I. A.
2.591-595; C. I.
2270). The date is given by archons both of the cleruchy
and of Athens (C. I. A.
2.594). In the Roman era the
στρατηγὸς ἐπὶ τοὺς ὁπλίτας
takes the place of the archon: so in Myrina (ib. 593). A γραμματεὺς τοῦ δήμου
first appears at
Athens in 308 B.C. A similar γραμματεὺς
is found in two contemporary inscriptions of
Lemnos and Imbros (ib. 592; Conze, op. cit.
p. 88). In the third century an ἀγωνοθέτης
is first found under that name: at the same
time we find one at Hephaestia (C. I. A.
further minor cleruchic magistracies, see Gilbert, op. cit.
1.424, note 3.
The system of cleruchies, not unreasonable in itself, but prosecuted
by the Athenian democracy with exceedingly great tyranny, and yet
with no consistency and completeness as the Romans did their
colonial system, was the most hated feature of the Athenian empire.
Grote (5.299, note 2) indeed does not think that it was looked on as
a grievance, as it is not mentioned as such in Xenophon's
nor in any of the anti-Athenian
orations of Thucydides; and that the outcry raised against them at
the time of the second confederacy was due to the islands fearing
the return of the Athenian cleruchi, who, after the Peloponnesian
war, had been driven away and deprived of their property, which had
reverted to the insular proprietors (cf. Xen. Mem. 2.8
4, 31). Isocrates (Paneg.
§ 107) felt called upon to defend the system, and did so by
asserting that it maintained peace and peopled depopulated lands.
But the cities had been depopulated by the Athenians; they made a
solitude and called it peace. So when Athens strove to re-organise
her allied confederacy a second time in 377 B.C., she distinctly agreed to discontinue the system, and
the convention (C. I. A.
2.17, 11. 27, 36) declares
that no land is to be held by Athens or an Athenian citizen within
the territories of the allies. Yet in 366 B.C., on the conquest of Samos, she renewed the system in that
island, which Demades (Ath. 3.99
called “the city's drain” (τῆς
). The Samians became exiles from
their country (Paus. 6.13
), and it is with reference to this
occupation of Samos and the gradual absorption of the lands by the
Athenian settlers that Craterus explains the proverb )*attiko\s
pa/roikos of a neighbour who, called in to help you, finally ousts
you of your possessions. There was no doubt a bitter feeling, not
only on the part of the Samians, but of others who had been
dispossessed by Athenian cleruchs. There is an interesting
inscription (Hicks, op. cit.
No. 135) in
which we perceive the intrigues of the Samian exiles at the
Macedonian court, and how Alexander promised to give back
“Samos to the Samians.” He, however, did not do so;
but it was effected by Perdiccas, according to the convention which
followed the defeat of the Athenians in the Lamian War, 322 B.C.
The principal authorities on the Greek colonies [p. 1.479]
are: Raoul-Rochette, Histoire critique de
l‘Établissement des Colonies
Paris, 1815; K. F. Hermann, Lehrbuch der
§ 73-90, ed. 1884; Schömann, Griech.
2.86-95; W. Roscher,
Kolonien, Kolonialpolitik und Auswanderung,
1-129, ed. 1885; Grote, History,
1.407-468, Eng. trans.; G. Gilbert,
Handbuch der griech. Staatsalterthömer,
2.397-403; E. Caillemer in Daremberg and Saglio, art. Colonia.
On the cleruchies, see especially
the articles of Kirchhoff and Foucart referred to; Boeckh,
Staatshaushaltung der Athener,
i.3 499-509; and G. Gilbert, op. cit.
The word colonia
contains the same element
as the verb colere,
“to cultivate,” and as the word colonus,
which probably originally signified “a tiller
of the earth.” The English word colony, which is derived from
the Latin, perhaps expresses the notion contained in this word more
nearly than is generally the case in such adopted terms.
A kind of colonisation seems to have existed amongst the oldest Italian
nations, who, on certain occasions [VER SACRUM
], sent out their superfluous male
population, with arms in their hands (ἱερὰ
), to seek for a new home. (Dionys. Antiq.
1.16.) But these were apparently new bands of
adventurers, and such colonies rather resembled the old Greek colonies
than those by which Rome extended her dominion and her name.
Colonies were established by the Romans as far back as the annals or
traditions of the city extend, and the practice was continued during the
republic and under the empire. They were intended to keep in check a
conquered people, and also to repress hostile incursions, as in the case
of the colony of Narnia (Liv. 10.10
was founded to check the Umbri; and Minturnae and Sinuessa (10.21),
Cremona and Placentia (27.46), which were founded for similar purposes.
Cicero (de Leg. Agr.
2.27, 73) calls the old Italian
colonies the “propugnacula imperii ;” and in another
passage (pro Font.
1, 13) he calls Narbo Martins
(Narbonne), which was in the provincia Gallia, “Colonia nostroram
civium, specula populi Romani et propugnaculum.” Another
object was to increase the power of Rome by increasing the population.
.) Sometimes the immediate
object of a colony was to carry off a number of turbulent and
discontented persons. Colonies were also established for the purpose of
providing for veteran soldiers, a practice which is first mentioned in
B.C. 201 (Liv. 31.4
), and continued under the
emperors: these coloniae were called militares
It is remarked by Strabo (p. 216, ed. Casaub.), when speaking of the
Roman colonies in the north of Italy, that the ancient names of the
places were retained, and that though the people in his time were all
Roman, they were called by the names of the previous occupiers of the
soil. This fact is in accordance with the character of the old Roman
colonies, which were in the nature of garrisons planted in conquered
towns, and the colonists had a portion of the conquered territory
(usually a third part: Dionys. A. R.
) assigned to them. The inhabitants retained the rest of
their lands, and lived together with the new settlers, who alone
composed the proper colony. (Dionys. A. R.
.) The conquered people must at first have been quite a
distinct class from, and inferior to, the colonists. They were probably
regarded as cives sine suffragio.
definition of a colonia by Gellius (16.13
will appear, from what has been said, to be sufficiently exact:
“Ex civitate quasi propagatae--populi Romani quasi effigies
No colonia was established without a lex, generally a plebiscitum, based
upon a senatusconsultum; in some cases the last alone is mentioned
), but it is probable that the confirmation by the people was
always requisite (Madvig, Verf. u. Verw.
2.29). This fact
shows that a Roman colony was never a mere body of adventurers, but had
a regular organisation by the parent state. According to an ancient
definition quoted by Niebuhr (Serv. ad
Verg. A. 1.12
), a colony is a body of
citizens, or socii, sent out to possess a commonwealth, with the
approbation of their own state, or by a public act of that people to
whom they belong; and it is added, those are colonies which are founded
by public act, not by any secession. Many of the later laws which relate
to the establishment of coloniae are leges agrariae, or laws for the
division and assignment of public lands.
When a law was passed for founding a colony, persons were elected by the
people to superintend its formation (coloniam
). These persons varied in number, but three was a
common number (triumviri ad colonos deducendos,
). We also read of duumviri, quinqueviri, vigintiviri for
the same purpose. The law fixed the quantity of land that was to be
distributed, and how much was to be assigned to each person. When the
colony was not an inviting one, it was difficult to fill up the number
of volunteers (Liv. 10.21
); but as a colony
was often founded as a military measure for the defence of the state,
the requisite garrison might be raised by levy, or by lot (Dionys. A. R. 7.13
; Plut. Cor. 13
); and colonists were not
allowed to withdraw from the colony at pleasure. The number of heads of
families was usually in the early times, and sometimes afterwards, 300
(Dionys. A. R. 2.35
), but there is no reason to. accept the conjecture
which connects this number with the traditional 300 gentes at Rome. At a
later period the number was often much larger: thus 2000 were sent to
Satricum (Liv. 6.16
), to Mutina, and to Parma
); 2500 to Cales (Liv. 8.16
) and to Luceria (Liv. 9.26
); 3000 in Volscos
); 4000 to Interamna (Liv. 9.28
) and elsewhere; and 6000 to Alba
) and to Placentia (Ascon.
Cic. in Pis.
Roman citizens who were willing to go out as members of a colony gave in
their names at Rome (nomina dederunt,
, an expression which is also used
of soldiers enrolling, and which plainly indicates the military nature
of the proceeding). Cicero (pro Dom.
30, 78) says that
Roman citizens who chose to become members of a Latin colony must go
voluntarily (auctores facti
), for this was
a capitis deminutio
; and in another
passage (pro Caecin.
33, 98) he alleges the
fact of Roman citizens going out in [p. 1.480]
colonies as a proof that loss of civitas must be a voluntary act.
The colonia proceeded to its place of destination in the form of an army
), which is indicated on
the coins of some coloniae. An urbs, if one did not already exist, was a
necessary part of a new colony, and its limits were marked out by a
plough, which is also indicated on ancient coins. The colonia had also a
territory, which, whether marked out by the plough or not (Cic. Phil. 2.40
), was at least marked out by metes
and bounds. Thus the urbs and territory of the colonia respectively
corresponded to the urbs Roma and its territory. Religious ceremonies
always accompanied the foundation of the colony, and the anniversary was
afterwards observed. (Plut. C. Gracchus,
Verg. A. 5.755
; Cic. ad Attic. 4.1. 4
63, 131). It is stated that a
colony could not be sent out to the same place to which a colony had
already been sent in due form (auspicato
). This merely means that so long as the colony
maintained its existence, there could be no new colony in the same
place,--a doctrine that would hardly need proof, for a new colony
implied a new assignment of lands; but new settlers (novi adscripti
) might be sent to occupy colonial lands
not already assigned. (Liv. 6.30
; Cic. Phil. 2.40
.) Indeed it was not unusual for a
colony to receive a supplementum,
as in the
case of Venusia (Liv. 31.49
), and in other
cases (Tac. Ann. 14.27
); and a colony
might be re-established, if it seemed necessary, from any cause: under
the emperors such re-establishment was sometimes entirely arbitrary, and
done to gratify personal vanity, or from some similar motive. (Cf.
The commissioners appointed to conduct the colony had apparently a
profitable office, and the establishment of a new settlement gave
employment to numerous functionaries, among whom Cicero (de Leg.
2.13, 32) enumerates apparitores, scribae, librarii,
praecones, architecti. The foundation of a colony might then, in many
cases, not only be a mere party measure, carried for the purpose of
gaining popularity, but it would give those in power an opportunity of
providing places for many of their friends.
The first division of the colonies was into (1) coloniae civium Romanorum
and (2) coloniae Latinae.
To the former class belonged all colonies, where the colonising
immigrants consisted exclusively of Roman citizens. Although there is no
express testimony to this effect, it hardly admits of doubt that these
retained the civitas cum suffragio et iure
1.232-244) has made it very probable that
the conquered prior inhabitants had the civitas sine
This seems to follow from the fact that they
are frequently spoken of as cives;
they had no other magistrates or laws than those of the colony. Thus
only can we understand the gradual blending of the new comers and the
old inhabitants, which appears to have been effected de facto
long before the Lex Julia. Madvig and Mommsen
have drawn up lists of thirty-two of such colonies, the date of the
foundation of these lying between B.C. 338 and B.C. 100. This list
excludes Ostia, which is said to have been founded under Ancus Marcius,
and Labici (B.C. 418), which is a doubtful instance. It is confessedly
incomplete, for, according to Asconius (in Pis.
there must have been several more, the names of which are not known to
The latter class included three kinds of colonies, of somewhat different
origin, and founded in three different periods. Five colonies are
ascribed to the time of the old Latin alliance, which subsisted in the
regal period of Rome. Seven others date from the renewed alliance
established by Sp. Cassius, and including also the Hernici. After the
close of the wars with the Latins (B.C. 338) and the Hernicans (B.C.
306), when the supremacy had passed entirely into the hands of Rome, the
Romans frequently planted in conquered territory outside of Latium
colonies consisting partly of Roman citizens, partly of Latins; of these
twenty-seven have been enumerated by Madvig and Mommsen. A Latin colony
was planted by Roman triumviri
and after a plebiscitum,
like a colony of Roman citizens,
but differed essentially from the latter in its legal position. It
formed an independent community, under the rule of no Roman magistrate,
and not bound to accept the Roman law, except so far as it thought fit
to do so. The citizens lost the Roman franchise, and became peregrini,
serving not in the legions, but in
like other allies. Along with the older allied states
they formed the nomen Latinum,
and probably also conubium
with Rome. This last class of colonies
were founded almost invariably in the interior of the Italian peninsula,
while the, colonies civium Romanorum
founded during the same period were as a rule upon the sea-coast. The
position of the Latin colonies appears to have become worse in course of
time, and the distinction between the inhabitants of these and those who
possessed the full franchise to have become more marked. A passage in
Cicero (pro Caec.
35, 102) speaks of a particular legal
position as that of “the twelve colonies:” this phrase has
been much discussed, but most scholars are now of the opinion that the
true interpretation was given first by Mommsen (Gesch. d.
p. 317). He explains that the
twelve Latin colonies founded after B.C. 268, the first of which was
Ariminum, had only that limited franchise, which was afterwards extended
to Transpadane Gaul, to some towns of Sicily; and under the empire to
various provinces. We do not know the details of this later or lesser
Latin franchise; but there are three points well established. It did not
carry the right of coinage, except in some instances, where the coinage
of copper was permitted; it did not admit of conubium,
although there was commercium;
and, thirdly, the acquisition of the full
Roman franchise was made more difficult than had been the case.
Besides these coloniae, there were coloniae Italici juris, as some
writers term them; but which in fact were not colonies. Sigonius, and
most subsequent writers, have considered the jus Italicum as a personal
right, like the Civitas and Latinitas; but Savigny has shown it to be
quite a different thing. The jus Italicum was granted to favoured
provincial cities; it was a grant to the community, not to the
individuals [p. 1.481]
composing it. This right consisted
in quiritarian ownership of the soil (commercium), and its appurtenant
capacity of mancipatio, usucapion, and vindicatio, together with freedom
from taxes; and also in a municipal constitution, after the fashion of
the Italian towns, with duumviri, quinquennales, aediles, and a
jurisdictio. Many provincial towns which possessed the jus Italicum have
on their coins the figure of a standing Silenus, with the hand raised,
which was the
IMP. M. IVL. PHILIPP. Philippus, A.D. 244-249.
AEL. MVNICIP. CO. Coela or Coelos (Plin. Nat. 4.47) in the Thracian Chersonesus.
peculiar symbol of municipal liberty. (Obeundus Marsya,
1.6, 120.) Pliny (3
. § §
18, 139) has mentioned several towns that had the jus Italicum; and
Lugdunum (Lyon), Vienna (Vienne), and Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne)
had this privilege. It follows from the nature of this privilege, that
towns which had the Latinitas or the Civitas, which was a personal
privilege, might not have the jus Italicum; but the towns which had the
jus Italicum could hardly be any other than those which had the Civitas
or Latinitas, and we cannot conceive that it was ever given to a town of
The colonial system of Rome, which originated in the earliest ages, was
well adapted to strengthen and extend her power: “By the colonies
the empire was consolidated, the decay of population checked, the
unity of the nation and of the language diffused.”
(Machiavelli, quoted by Niebuhr.) The countries, which the Romans
conquered within the limits of Italy, were inhabited by nations that
cultivated the soil and had cities. To destroy such a population was not
possible nor politic; but it was a wise policy to take part of their
lands, and to plant bodies of Roman citizens, and also Latinae coloniae,
among the conquered people. The power of Rome over her colonies was
derived, as Niebuhr has well remarked, “from the supremacy of the
parent state, to which the colonies of Rome, like sons in a Roman
family, even after they had grown to maturity, continued unalterably
subject.” In fact, the notion of the patria potestas will be
found to lie at the foundation of the institutions of Rome.
The principles of the system of colonisation were fully established in
the early ages of Rome; but the colonies had a more purely military
character,--that is, were composed of soldiers, in the latter part of
the republic, and under the earlier emperors. The first colony
established beyond the limits of Italy was Carthago (Vell. 2.15); Narbo
Martins was the next. Nemausus (Nîmes) was made a colony by
Augustus,--an event which is commemorated by medals (Rasche,
Lexicon Rei Numariae
), and an extant inscription at
In addition to the evidence from written books of the numerous colonies
established by the Romans in Italy, and subsequently in all parts of the
empire, we have the testimony of medals and inscriptions, in which COL.,
Coin of Nemausus.
abbreviation of colonia, indicates this fact, or, as in the
case of Sinope, the Greek inscription ΚΟΛΩΝΕΙΑ.
Septimius Severus made Tyre a colonia
Veteranorum (Rasche, Lexicon Rei Numariae,
s. v. Tyrus).
Colonies were sometimes established under the late republic and the
empire with circumstances of great oppression, and lands were assigned
to the veterans without regard to existing rights.
Under the emperors, all legislative authority being then virtually in
them, the foundation of a colony was an act of imperial grace, and often
merely a title of honour conferred on some favoured spot. Thus M.
Aurelius raised to the rank of colonia the small town (vicus) of Halale,
at the foot of Taurus, where his wife Faustina died. (Jul. Capitol.
M. Ant. Philos.
100.26.) The old military colonies
were composed of whole legions, with their tribunes and centurions, who,
being united by mutual affection, composed a political body (respublica
); but it was a complaint in the time
of Nero, that soldiers who were strangers to one another, without any
head, without any bond of union, were suddenly brought together on one
spot, “numerus magis quam colonia” (Tac. Ann. 14.27
). And on the occasion of
the mutiny of the legions in Pannonia, upon the accession of Tiberius,
it was one ground of complaint, that the soldiers, after serving thirty
or forty years, were separated, and dispersed in remote parts; where
they received, under the name of a grant of lands (per nomen agrorum
), swampy tracts and barren mountains.
(Tac. Ann. 1.17.
It remains briefly to state what was the internal constitution of a
colonia. On this subject great light has been thrown by the discovery in
1851 of the municipal laws of Salpensa and Malaca in Hispania Baetica.
(Cf. C. I. L.
2.1963, 1964; Bruns, Fontes Iuris Romani,
120-131; Mommsen, Die
Stadtrechte d. lat. Gem. Sal. u. Mal.
1855.) The genuineness
of these valuable records was for a time disputed, but is now accepted
universally. They date from about A.D. 81, and therefore describe the
municipal constitution under the early empire; but it is not, as a rule,
difficult to draw conclusions from this as to its character at an
In the later times of the republic, the Roman state consisted of two
distinct organised parts, Italy and the Provinces. “Italy
consisted of a great number of republics (in the Roman sense of the
term), whose citizens, after the Italian war, became members of the
sovereign people. The communities of these citizens were subjects
of the Roman people, yet the internal
administration of the communities belonged to themselves. This free
municipal constitution was the fundamental characteristic of Italy;
and the same remark will apply to both principal classes of such
constitutions, municipia and coloniae. That distinction which made a
place into a praefectura is mentioned afterwards; and fora,
conciliabula, castella, are merely smaller communities, with an
incomplete organisation.” (Savigny. Cf. Marquardt,
i.2 2-21.) As in
Rome, so in the colonies, the popular assembly had originally the
sovereign power; they chose the magistrates, and could even make laws.
(Cic. de Leg. 3.1.
, 36.) It was a natural conjecture of Savigny's that, when the
popular assemblies became a mere form in Rome, and the elections were
transferred by Tiberius to the senate, the same thing happened in the
colonies, and that the senates then acquired whatever power had once
belonged to the community. But there is abundant epigraphic evidence to
show that this was by no means the case. The division of the citizens
) into curiae,
and the electoral activity of these when
assembled in their comitia,
On the walls of Pompeii we find frequent appeals of candidates, or in
favour of candidates, to the popular body; and not only does the Lex
Malacitana prescribe the details of the popular election, but we
actually have mention of a nominatio populi
in Africa as late as A.D. 326. In practice,
however, the election soon became little more than a formality; for
office in these country towns was often regarded as a burden quite as
much as an honour. In the laws dating from the time of Domitian, the
presiding magistrate is empowered to nominate candidates, in case a
sufficient number do not offer themselves, a right which doubtless
existed in much earlier times; and if no more were nominated than were
required to fill the vacancies, the confirmation by the popular vote was
a mere form. (Mommsen, Stadtrechte,
The town-council or senate consisted, like the Roman senate, of a fixed
number of members, holding office for life, selected by magistrates
corresponding to the censors at Rome, in the first instance from those
who had been elected by the people as magistrates. The number was fixed
by the law constituting the colony (Lex Jul. Munic. 85), and was usually
100, though we find instances of both smaller and larger bodies. The
senate was called senatus, ordo decurionum,
or in imitation of the Roman
terms, patres et conscripti, decuriones
the members of it decuriones,
or at a later time (very rarely in inscriptions)
An inscription from Canusium
(Mommsen, I.R. N.
635) shows us very clearly the
composition of a municipal senate. We find the names arranged under the
following heads :--(1) patroni clarissimi
thirty-one in number; these had held office at Rome, and
were Roman senators, and were apparently honorary members of the local
senate: (2) patroni equites Romani,
in number, and similarly honorary members: (3) quinquennalicii,
local ex-censors, seven in number (including
two of the previous class): (4) allecti inter
four men to whom a higher rank had been conceded by a
special vote: (5) duoviralicii,
number, ex-duumviri of the place: (6) aedilicii,
nineteen, past aediles: (7) quaestoricii,
nine past quaestors: (8) pedani,
thirty-two in number, who had held no office, but had
been admitted into the senate by the quinquennales:
twenty-five in number, sons of senators, whose names were placed on the
roll, as a mark of honour, although apparently, like the corresponding
class at Rome, they attended the meetings of the senate only as
The functions of the senate were much the same as those of the senate at
Rome. It acted as the deliberative body, and passed resolutions which it
was the duty of the magistrates to execute; but the ordinary executive
functions of government lay with the latter. The laws of Malaca and
Salpensa mention eight cases which come within the competence of the
senate: the most important of these are the control of the municipal
property, and the hearing of appeals against fines imposed by the
magistrates. Towards the close of the second century after Christ the
position and character of the municipal bodies underwent gradual and
very important changes, as a result of the increasing centralisation of
the imperial administration. Popular election died out: those possessed
of the requisite property were appointed, often against their will,
and from these the
magistrates were selected. Ultimately the decuriones
came to be regarded as a class of magistrates, and
were charged with various functions: and finally the position became
hereditary, and the curiales
kind of official aristocracy.
In many of the earlier municipia
magistrates continued to retain the titles which they had held before
the towns came under the power of Rome. Thus there was a dictator
at Aricia, Lanuvium, Nomentum,
Tusculum, and in the Latin colony of Sutrium; and two praetores
in many of the Italian colonies, both civium Romanorum
as also in those planted in Gaul and Spain. There
were also in all cases two aediles,
probably instituted. soon after the creation of the curule aedileship at
Rome, and on the model of it. But as a rule the higher magistrates
consisted of four officials, two for judicial business (iure dicundo
), two charged with supervision of
buildings, roads, &c. (aedilicia
). These either constituted two colleges, duouiri iure dicundo
and duoviri aediles,
or else one college with two divisions,
quattuorviri iure dicundo
and quattuorviri aediles.
The evidence of
inscriptions (collected by Mommsen, L. R. N.,
) fully bears out the conjecture
of Manutius (on Cic. pro Sest.
the former arrangement was that usual in colonies, the latter that in
There are even a few towns
in which these magistrates along with the two aerarii
(quaestors) and the two auctores
were combined into a college of octoviri.
or quattuorviri iure dicundo
were the highest officials and
alone bore the title magistratus.
year of office was denoted by their names, as by those of the consuls at
Rome. They had the supreme judicial authority, but in Roman colonies not
the power of presiding over manumission, emancipation and adoption; a
suggestive indication of the extent to which the Latin colonies and
municipia retained a formal [p. 1.483]
the Roman community (Mommsen, Stadtrechte,
p. 436). They
presided over elections in the popular assembly, and over the senate,
and could appoint a substitute (praefectus
in case of absence. They wore the praetexta,
and were attended by two lictors bearing the
(without the axe), which,
however, probably differed in form from those of the Roman magistrates,
for they are also called virgae
de Leg. Agr. 2.3. 4
, 93; ad
11.6, 2.) But these distinctions they enjoyed only within
the limits of their own communities. The duoviri or
quattuorviri aediliciae potestatis
were the collegae minores
of the judicial magistrates. Their
functions are sufficiently indicated by their names.
after the date of the Lex
Julia of B.C. 90 discharged the duties which had in most cases been
previously fulfilled by two municipal censors. The history of this
important office was discussed adequately for the first time by Henzen
in the Annali
for 1858, pp. 1 ff. The
municipal revenues were derived partly from the landed property of the
community (including also forests, fisheries, and mines), which was
generally farmed by contractors, partly from invested capital, which was
usually funded for special purposes, and partly from a tax, which was
imposed in case of need upon all inhabitants. Every fifth year
magistrates were elected, whose full title was duoviri
censoria potestate quinquennales,
who, as Zumpt has shown, for this year replaced the ordinary duoviri,
and gave their name to the year. Their
special duties included the revision of the senatorial and citizens'
lists, and the settlement of the finance of the community for the next
five years. With increasing centralisation the functions of the quinquennales
were transferred almost entirely
to an imperial commissioner, called curator,
but it is a mistake, as Zumpt has shown, to identify
the two offices. A curator
is first named
in a rescript of Nerva (Dig. 34
), and for some
time this officer appears as directly appointed by the emperor, usually
not from the citizens of the municipium. Afterwards he was chosen by the
out of their own body. The
continued to be elected,
but all control of finance seems to have been taken out of their hands.
In some towns we find quaestores,
the charge of the details of finance, like the quaestors at Rome. In
other cases the town-treasury was committed to a third aedile, as at
Arpinum (Cic. Att. 15.1. 5
were appointed to discharge the functions of any
magistrate, unable for any reason to fulfil them himself. It was not
uncommon under the empire for the emperor himself, or some member of his
house, to accept the position of one of the duoviri
of a community, in order to do honour to it. In this
case a praefectus
was of course necessary
to discharge the duties of the office. From these we must carefully
distinguish the praefecti
sent from Rome to
The relation of the terms colonia,
been much discussed, and complete agreement has not yet been arrived at,
partly in consequence of the looseness with which some ancient
authorities use the words, and partly because their precise force seems
to have differed at different periods. The word municipium
was usually derived by ancient writers from
in the sense of “to
undertake a duty” (Gellius, 16.13
); but the explanation now
justly preferred is that of Rudorff, who interprets it as coming from
the same words, in the sense of “to receive a gift.” The
term is then originally an abstract word denoting a relation of
hospitality, and it came to be applied, as a concrete name, for towns
which had entered into this relation with Rome. Festus thus defines it:
“municipium id genus hominum dicitur, qui cum Romam venissent,
neque cives Romani essent, participes tamen omnium rerum ad munus
fungendum una cum Romanis civibus praeterquam de suffragio ferendo
aut magistratu cupiendo . . . alio modo cum id genus hominum
definitur, quorum civitas universa in civitatem Romanam
venit.” These two classes have the common feature that their
inhabitants are cives Romani sine
but the former constitute distinct communities (
“ut semper rempublicam separatim a populo Romano
haberent,” Fest.); the latter have no municipal authorities of
their own, but are governed from Rome. Capua is an instructive example
of the distinction: for in B.C. 338 it was placed in the former class ;
in B.C. 211, after its revolt, it was reduced to the latter. Now, as
these towns by degrees attained the complete Roman franchise, they
ceased to constitute civitates,
under the jurisdiction of the praetor
As he could not discharge his duties in person, he
nominated deputies (praefecti iure dicundo
to administer Roman law in the various municipia. It has been usually
held that this was not the case with all colonies and municipia, but
only with a certain number of them, to which the name praefecturae
was specially given. But Festus (p. 233)
distinctly includes the three separate classes (municipia of both kinds
and colonies) under the head of praefecturae;
and this is supported by the fact that we find
even under the empire municipia and colonies passing for a time and for
special reasons into the category of praefecturae,
i.e. governed by deputies sent from Rome, and
not by their own elected magistrates. This induces Marquardt
iv. p. 43) and Mommsen to hold that all
colonies and municipia were originally praefecturae.
On the other hand, as of the twenty-two
examples quoted by Festus, eighteen were municipia
and only four coloniae
it is quite possible that Festus has
included the last on the strength of some authority referring to their
position before they were made colonies; e. g. Puteoli we know to have
been governed by duoviri
in B.C. 105. Hence
Willems holds with Madvig that the praefecturae
were always municipia sine
In any case, as soon as a community received
the full franchise, it gained therewith the right of electing its own
magistrates, and ceased to be a praefectura.
But even after the Lex Julia of B.C. 90, which
raised all communities in Italy to the rank of municipia
or coloniae civium
there were certain communities which, for
reasons unknown to us, still were governed by praefecti
sent from Rome. At some time in the first
century B.C. the praefecti
sent to Campania
were changed into ivviri iure dicundo,
by the comitia
but the others were still nominated by the praetor.
Of the earlier authorities we may mention Sigonius, de
&c.; Niebuhr, Roman
Savigny, Ueber das Jus Italicum,
vol. v.; Tabulae
ed. Mazocchi, Neap. 1754; Savigny, Der
Römische Volksschluss der Tafel von Heraclea,
Rudorff, Ueber die Lex Manilia de Colonits, Zeitschr.
vol. ix.; Rudorff, Das Ackergesetz von Sp. Thorius,
Puchta, Ueber den Inhalt der Lex Rubria de Gallia Cisalpina,
vol. x.; Beaufort, Rep. Rom.
278-308. But these are to a large extent rendered obsolete by the
researches of Madvig, Opuscula, De Jure et Condicione
Coloniarum Populi Romani,
Hauniae, 1834; C. G. Zumpt,
Ueber den Unterschied der Benennungen, Municipium, Colonia,
Berlin, 1840; Mommsen, Die Stadtrechte
von Malaca und Salpensa,
Leipzig, 1855; Geschichte d.
Berlin, 1860; A. W.
Zumpt, Comment. Epigraphica,
vol. i. ; E. Kuhn,
Die städtische u. bürgerl. Verf. des R.
vol. i., Leipzig, 1864; Marquardt,
vol. iv., Leipzig, 1873. The great collections
of inscriptions are here of especial value.