the laws by which the ballot was
introduced in voting in [p. 2.752]
the Comitia; tabellae
being the tablets overlaid with wax on
which votes were secretly inscribed. Secret voting was introduced for the
purpose of weakening the power of the optimates. As to the ancient mode of
voting at Rome, see TABELLA
There were four enactments known by the name of Tabellariae Leges, which are
enumerated by Cicero (de Legg.
3.16, 35). They are mentioned
below according to the order of time in which they were passed.
1. LEX GABINIA
the tribune Gabinus B.C. 139, introduced the ballot in the election of
magistrates (Cic. l.c.
); whence Cicero (Cic. Agr. 2.2
, 4) calls the tabella
“vindex tacitae libertatis.”
2. LEX CASSIA
proposed by the
tribune L. Cassius Longinus B.C. 137, introduced the ballot in the
“Judicium Populi,” with the exception of cases of
Perduellio. The “Judicium Populi” undoubtedly applies to cases
tried in the Comitia by the whole body of the people [JUDEX
Vol. I. p. 1027], although Ernesti
) wishes to give a different interpretation to
the words. This law was supported by Scipio Africanus the younger, for which
he was censured by the aristocratical party (Cic.
de Legg. 3.1. 6
, 37; Brut.
97; pro Sestio,
48, 103;--Ascon. in
p. 78, ed. Orelli).
3. LEX PAPIRIA
the tribune C. Papirius Carbo B.C. 131, introduced the ballot in the
enactment and repeal oflaws (Cic. de
Legg. 3.1. 6
4. LEX CAELIA,
proposed by C.
Caelius Caldus B.C. 107, introduced the ballot in cases of Perduellio, which
had been excepted in the Cassian law (Cic.
; pro Planc.
6, 16;--Plin. Ep. 3.20
There was also a law brought forward by Marius B.C. 119, which was intended
to secure freedom and order in voting (Cic.
de Legg. 3.1. 7
, 38; Plut. Mar. 4