previous next

LATI´NITAS

LATI´NITAS, LA´TIUM, JUS LA´TII (τὸ καλούμενον Λάτιον, Strabo iv. p.187; Λατίου δίκαιον, Appian, App. BC 2.26). To understand the meaning of these terms at various periods of Roman history, it is necessary to go back to the conquest of Alba Longa by Rome, which then entered into an aequum foedus with the Latini, or peoples of Latium, who at that time were leagued together in a federation of thirty towns (Dionys. A. R. 5.61). The attempt of Rome to assert a sort of suzerainty over the Latin league led to a war (Dionys. A. R. 5.34), which resulted in the Latins, though nominally remaining socii of Rome, being practically reduced to dependence on her (Dionys. A. R. 3.54; Liv. 1.35-38). However, they seized the opportunity of Rome's struggle with Porsena to repudiate the yoke: she surrendered the claim to exercise a protectorate, and in 493 B.C. a new alliance. was concluded on terms of absolute equality (ἰσοπολιτεία, Dionys. A. R. 8.70), the members of the league and Rome enjoying reciprocal rights. of conubium (Liv. 1.49; Dionys. A. R. 6.1), commercium (Liv. 41.8), and of settling on one another's territory with at any rate some public rights: we read of Latins voting in the comitia tributa in Dionys. A. R. 8.72; Liv. 23.3, 16; Appian, Bell. Cic. 1.23, &c. In 486 B.C. the Hernici were admitted to the confederation, which endured between the three peoples substantially for 140 years. In 340 B.C. occurred the Latin war, which terminated in the dissolution of the league: the interchange of commercium and conubium between its members ceased (Liv. 8.14; 9.43, 2, 4), and each of the towns which had belonged to it was brought into a direct relation of dependence with Rome, though there was great variety in the privileges which they enjoyed with respect to her, some apparently retaining conubium, commercium, and the right of acquiring civitas by settlement. From this time onward the Italian civitates or communities are roughly divisible into those which possess the Roman civitas in whole or part (municipia and coloniae Romanae; see COLONIA), and those which retain their independence by treaty, their only obligation towards Rome as a rule being the furnishing of a contingent of troops to the Roman army (civitates foederatae and coloniae Latinae). It has been pointed out under the head of COLONIA that joint colonies had been founded by the Romans and the Latin league both before and after the accession of the Hernici; these colonists being in all cases called Latini. Colonies which were founded after the destruction of the league (340 B.C.) under the name Latinae were established solely by Rome, and lay outside the limits of Latium. The colonists were in the main Latins, or members of other kindred or allied communities: but among; them there were often some of the poorer Roman citizens, who were tempted to surrender their Roman civitas, thus suffering capitts deminutio media Gaius, 3.56; Cic. pro Caec. 33, 98; pro Domo, 30, 78), by the offer of an assignment of land. These later Latin colonies at first possessed the same rights with those which had been jointly founded by Rome and the league: [p. 2.10]they were in a large measure independent of Rome, not being bound to adopt the Roman law unless they became fundus (Gel. 16.13; Cic. pro Balb. 8, 21), having their own coinage, and their citizens being, in relation to Rome, peregrini (Gaius, 1.79; Liv. 43.13), though obliged to serve in the Roman army. As possessing the rights of conubium and commercium, and of acquiring at least a limited civitas by settling at Rome, they were described, along with such old Latin colonies and towns of the league as had retained their ancient privileges, as socii Latini nominis, socii of a privileged order. But these privileges were at last curtailed. After the colonisation of Ariminum (268 B.C.) there is observable a strong tendency to confine the rights of new coloniae Latinae strictly to commercium. Later writers speak of Latini coloniarii having commercium (Ulp. Reg. 19, 4), but not conubium (ib. 5, 4). Similarly their general right of settling at Rome, and thereby becoming cives if they left a son behind in the colony (Liv. 41.8, 9), was taken away from them. The Roman dislike of its exercise is attested by the expulsion of Latins from Rome in B.C. 187 and 177 (Liv. 39.3; 41.9, 9), and eventually Latini coloniarii were able to rise to the Roman civitas only in two ways: by discharging one of the higher magistracies (honores) in their own colony (App. BC 2.26; Strabo, 4.1, 12), and by bringing a successful prosecution under the Lex Acilia repetundarum, passed B.C. 123 (C. I. L. 1.198, 11. 76, 78). The phrase “per Latium venire in civitatem” (Plin. Paneg. 37; Gaius, 1.95) denotes in particular the first of these. Under the emperors, attainment of an honor in some towns with Latin rights made only the individual himself civis: in others the privilege was shared with him by his parents, wife and family, and this seems to be the clue to the meaning of minus Latium, majus Latium in Gaius, 1.95, and the Lex municip. Salpens. 100.21.

Thus before the Social War there were only two classes of persons, oives and peregrini, the Latins being included under the latter denomination, along with the socii and the provincial subjects of Rome. The leges Julia and Plautia Papiria, passed at the end of that war [CIVITAS], extended Roman citizenship all over Italy, so that Latinitas in the old sense disappeared. But the rights which it connoted-commercium without conubium or the public rights of citizenship--had become a distinct political conception: and the term was retained to denote a status which the Romans conferred on towns and countries outside Italy by way of favour. The first step in this direction was made by a Lex Pompeia, B.C. 89, which conferred this Latinitas on the Transpadane Gauls (Ascon. in Pis. p. 3), and expressly provided that the attainment of a honor should be a title to the civitas. Cicero says the same status was bestowed on the Sicilians after Caesar's death (ad Att. 14.12): Hadrian granted it to a large number of cities (Spart. Had. 21), and Vespasian to the whole of Spain (Plin. Nat. 3.4) and to some of the Alpine tribes (ib. 3.20); and Richard of Cirencester, in his work de situ Britanniae, speaks of ten cities in Britain which were “Latio jure donatae.” The number of communities possessed of the same rights was increased by the establishment of Latin colonies in the provinces after the Social War: thus (e. g.) Comum was made a colonia Latina by Caesar (B.C. 59) under the name of Novum Comum (Appian, App. BC 2.26), and several towns of this class, especially in Spain, are mentioned by Pliny: see COLONIA The Latini coloniarii mentioned by Ulpian are thus apparently the inhabitants either of coloniae Latinae in the provinces, or of towns or districts on which the jus Latii had been conferred by a lex or imperial favour, both of which seem to be included under the “oppida Latinorum veterum” which Pliny (3.18) mentions along with the “oppida civium Romanorum,” military colonies of Roman citizens.

A new class of Latins originated with the Lex Junia Norbana, the date of which is approximately 19 A.D. Prior to that statute, slaves manumitted otherwise than by vindicta, census, or testamentum [MANUMISSIO], even though fully owned “ex jure Quiritium” by their masters, had not become free in the eye of the law; but they were said “in libertate esse,” being protected by the praetor so long as they lived against any attempt on the part of the master to exercise the rights of ownership over them ( “olim ex jure Quiritium servi, sed auxilio praetoris in libertatis forma servari soliti,” Gaius, 3.56). The number of such semi-free persons was increased by the Lex Aelia Sentia, A.D. 4, which further curtailed the power of making slaves cives by manumission (Gaius, 1.18, 38). A legal status, however, was given them by the Lex Junia Norbana, which provided that, like Latini coloniarii, they should have the commercium without the conubium or the public rights of civitas: hence they were called Latini Juniani (Gaius, 1.22, 3.56). Even the ordinary rights of commercium, however, were curtailed largely in their case by the statutes depriving them of the power of making a will, of benefiting under the will of another person, and of competence to be appointed guardian under a testament (Gaius, 1.22, 24; Ulp. Reg. 20, 8): consequently as they must die intestate, and could have neither sui heredes nor agnates, their property went inevitably on their decease to the patron “jure quodammodo peculii” (Gaius, 3.56; Inst. 3.7, 4). The children of a Latinus Junianus inherited their father's status. But there was a large number of ways in which a Latinus Junianus could rise to the civitas either alone, or along with his wife and children: these, which are enumerated by Gaius, 1.28 sq.,and more fully by Ulpian, Reg. 3, comprise remanumission in one of the statutory modes, serving a certain time in the Roman guards, imperial grant, jus liberorum, &c. (See Mr. Poste's Gaius, note on 1.35.)

The status of Latinitas disappeared momentarily when Caracalla bestowed Roman citizenship on all the free subjects of the Empire [CIVITAS], but the operation of the Lex Junia must have at once re-created it. Justinian says (Inst. 1.5, 3) that in his time Latins were not often met with, and by Cod. 7.7 he abolished the status of Latinitas altogether.

(Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, i. pp. 23-57; Savigny, Ueber die Entstehung und Fortbildung der Latinität, vermischte Schriften, i. pp. 14-18; Der römische Volkschluss der Tafel von Heraclea, ib. iii. pp. 293-304; Madvig, de [p. 2.11]Jure Coloniar., opusc. acad., pp. 271-284; Rudorff, Römische Rechtsgeschichte, § 11; Vangerow, Latini Juniani, Marburg, 1833; Puchta, Institutionen, § § 62, 63.)

[J.B.M]

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