), a political
division of a people.
The word φυλὴ
does not occur in Homer,
and the political idea which it embodies is undoubtedly post-Homeric.
of Homer is a race or breed,
e. g. of gods, men, animals, even insects (Il.
); more rarely, it is a “tribe” in the
sense of nation or people, and this tribe may be an aggregate of septs
or clans (κατὰ φῦλα, κατὰ φρήτρας,
). In this passage, and in the
phrase Δωριέες τριχάϊκες
), we see the germs of later
In the early historic period we find the πόλις
or state divided into φυλαί
with more or less reference to a favourite or sacred
number which varied in different races. Thus the Ionian number was four,
the Dorian three; the four old-Ionic “tribes” occur, with
the same names, in other Ionian states besides Athens; and traces of the
three Dorian tribes are found in all the countries which they colonised.
These tribes were in the first instance genealogical (γενικαί
), afterwards local (τοπικαί
): on this distinction cf. DEMUS
p. 615 a.
The three Dorian tribes were called Ὑλλεῖς, Δυμανᾶται
ff.; Hdt. 5.68
; Steph. s. vv.
). As usual, the names were said to have
been derived from eponymous heroes; the first from Hyllus, son of
Hercules, the others from Dymas and Pamphylus, leaders who fell in the
invasion of the Peloponnesus. In reality the name Pamphyli points to the
aggregation of a number of scattered family elements under a single
tribe. Traces of a τρίπολις
are found in Thuc. 1.107
, Diod. 6.79
, but there is no evidence to show
that each φυλὴ
occupied a separate
: elsewhere the Dorian
is mentioned, as by
Strabo (ix. p.427
). The Hyllean tribe
ranked first in precedence; the Pamphylians, as a mixed multitude, came
last; but at Sparta there does not appear to have been much distinction,
for all the freemen there were by the constitution of Lycurgus on a
footing of equality. When Herodotus speaks of the Aegeidae as φυλὴ μεγάλη ἐν Σπάρτῃ
(4.149), he is
not to be understood as speaking of a fourth tribe of equal or similar
dignity and rank to the other three. Hie uses the term φυλὴ
in the general sense of γένος
(Stein in loc.
Pindar, Pind. P. 5.101
). To these three
tribes others were added in different places, either when the Dorians
were joined by other foreign allies, or when some of the old inhabitants
were admitted to the rank of citizenship or equal privileges. Eight
tribes are mentioned in Corinth (Suidas, s. v. Πάντα ὀκτώ
), four in Tegea (Paus. 8.53.6
). In Elis there were twelve tribes, afterwards
reduced to eight by a war with the Arcadians (Paus. 5.9.6
), from which they appear to have been
geographical divisions (Wachsmuth, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 17). Sometimes we
find mention of only one of the Doric tribes, as of the Hylleans in
Cydonia (Hesych. sub voce
), the Dymanes in
Halicarnassus; which probably arose from colonies having been founded by
the members of one tribe only (Wachsmuth, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 15).
Traces of the three old Dorian tribes occur with more or less
distinctness at Megara, where they continued up to Roman times
(C. I. G.
1073; Lebas. 2.48), though other tribes
were added (C. I. G.
1072); at Argos (C. I.
1123, 1128, 1132; Müller, Frag. Hist.
4.497), where there also existed a (φυλὴ τῶν Ὑρναθίων
(C. I. G.
1131), probably consisting of citizens of non-Dorian origin, since it
occurred also at the neighbouring Aegina and Epidaurus (Müller,
p. 140); at Sicyon, where Cleisthenes changed
the names of the three Dorian tribes to Ὑᾶται,
to insult their members, and added a fourth
tribe, the Ἀρχέλαοι,
his own ruling
family [sixty years after his death the Doric names were restored, and a
fourth tribe added, called Αἲγιαλέες
after the son of the hero Adrastus (Hdt.
）]; at Troezen (Steph. s. v. Ὑλλεῖς
). Similar evidence in the case of Dorian colonies
is found at Cos, where the (φυλαὶ
subdivided into φρατρίαι,
and also into
(Bull. de Corr. Hell.
7, p. 217; Cauer,2 p. 159); at Thera (Mitth.
deutsch. arch. Inst. Ath.
2.73); at Heraclea on the Pontus
(οὐσῶν αὐταῖς τριῶν φυλῶν,
Aen. Poliorcet. 11.10); at Epidamnus, where the φύλαρχοι
had at one time the control of the government
viii. (v.) 1 = p. 1301). In
Sicily, the three Dorian tribes occur at Syracuse (tria genera,
Cic. Ver. 2.51, 127
; Plut. Nic.
Holm, Gesch. Sicil.
1.418), and at Acragas (προεδρευούσας τᾶς φυλᾶς τῶν Ὑλλέων,
C. I. G.
Traces of these tribal subdivisions are also found in Thessaly (see
Harpocrat. s. v. τετραρχία
: τεττάρων μερῶν ὄντων τῆς Θετταλίας ἕκαστον
μέρος τετρὰς ἐκαλεῖτο, καθά φησιν Ἑλλάνικος ἐν τοῖς
Θετταλικοῖς: ὄνομα δέ φησιν εἶναι ταῖς τετράσι
Θετταλιῶτιν, Φθιῶτιν, Πελασγιῶτιν, Ἑστιαιῶτιν. καὶ
Ἀριστοτέλης δὲ ἐν τῇ κοινῇ Θετταλῶν πολιτείᾳ ἐπὶ
Ἀλεύα οῦ Πύρρου διῃρῆσθαί φησιν εἰς τέτταρας μοίρας τὴν
): among the Malians (Thuc. 3.92
, Μηλιῆς οἱ ξύμπαντες
εἰσὶ μὲν τρία μέρη, Παράλιοι, Ἱερῆς,
), and the Aetolians (Thuc.
, ἐπιχειρεῖν δ᾽ἐκέλευον πρῶτον
μὲν Ἀποδώτοις, ἔπειτα δ᾽Ὀφιονεῦσι, καὶ μετὰ τούτους
Εὐρυτᾶσιν, ὅπερ μέγιστον μέρος ἐστὶ τῶν
). It is possible that some of these names may
denote geographical rather than purely tribal subdivisions. It is a
possible conjecture that the four βουλαὶ
of Boeotia, mentioned in Thuc.
as αἵπερ ἅπαν τὸ κῦρος
point to a survival of some old quadruple
division of Boeotia into tribes.
Of all the Dorian people the Spartans kept themselves the longest unmixed
with foreign [p. 2.876]
blood. So jealous were they to
maintain their exclusive privileges, that they had only admitted two men
into their body before the time of Herodotus (Hdt.
). Aristotle, however,
2.9) that there was a
tradition that the privilege of citizenship was conferred ἐπὶ τῶν προτέρων βασιλέων.
their numbers were occasionally recruited by the admission of Laconians,
Helots, and foreigners; but this was done very sparingly, until the time
of Agis and Cleomenes, who created large numbers of citizens. But we
cannot further pursue this subject (Schömann, op. cit.
The subdivision of tribes into (φρατρίαι
or πάτραι, γένη, τριττύες,
&c., appears to have prevailed in various places (see Gilbert,
Index, s. vv.
). On the ὠβαὶ
at Sparta, of which very little is known, see GEROUSIA
Vol. I. p.
After the time of Cleomenes the
old system of tribes was changed; new ones were created corresponding to
the different quarters of the town, and seem to have been five in number
(Schömann, Ant. Jur. Pub.
Of the colonies in Aeolis, at Ilium we hear of φυλαί, φυλάρχαι,
: names of tribes occur, e. g. Ἀλεξανδρίς
(C. I. G.
(ib. 3616), Ρανθωίς
(ib. 3617); at Lampsacus we hear of φυλαὶ
Methymna the citizens were divided into φυλαὶ
ib. p. 166).
The four Ionian tribes--Geleontes, Hopletes, Aegicoreis, Argadeis--which
are spoken of below in reference to Attica, were found also in Cyzicus,
together with two others, Βωρεῖς
(C. I. G.
3663-4-5). In Samos a φυλὴ
is mentioned by Herodotus (3.26
), which was probably a Carian race that mingled with
the Ionians. In Ephesus five tribes are mentioned, of different races.
At Miletus, in the period of its dependence on Athens, the ten
Cleisthenean tribes (see below), under the same names as at Athens,
formed part of the constitution (Lebas, Asie Min.
f.). At Smyrna we do not seem to have any trace of tribes until Roman
C. I. G.
Coming next to the Islands of the Aegean, we find that at Syros the
citizens were divided into φυλαὶ
(C. I. G.
2347 g); a similar arrangement prevailed at Delos (Gilbert, ut sup.
p. 206). At Tenos we have the names of
ten local φυλαί,
known by a collective
name (as Ἡρακλεῖδαι
), or heroic (as
: see C. I.
2338); each of these was subdivided into πρατρίαι
(C. I. G.
2333). Similar subdivisions prevailed at Andros (Mitth. deutsch.
Arch. Inst. Ath.
i. p. 237) and at Calymna (Anc.
Greek Inscr. in Brit. Mus.
In Cyrene, according to Aristotle (Pol.
(vi.) 4), an increase in the number of φυλαὶ
result of a more democratical constitution.
In Magna Graecia the only surviving trace of tribal divisions occurs in
the case of Thurii, founded B.C. 443 ([Plut.] Vit. Dec.
835 D). Here there were ten tribes: Ἀρκάς, Ἀχαΐς, Ἠλεία, Βοιωτία, Ἀμφικτυονίς, Δωρίς,
Ἰάς, Ἀθηναΐς, Εὐβοιάς,
Mythic names of Attic tribes, ascribed to the reign of Cecrops, are
and in that of Cranaus, Cranais
Afterwards we find a new set of names: Dias
), and Hephaestias
); evidently derived from the
deities who were worshipped in the country. (Compare Pollux, 8.109.)
Some of those secondly mentioned, if not all of them, seem to have been
geographical divisions; and it is not improbable that, if not
independent communities, they were at least connected by a very weak
bond of union. But all these tribes were superseded by four others,
whose appearance corresponded in time with the Ionic settlement in
Attica, and which seem (as before observed) to have been adopted by
other Ionic colonies out of Greece. The names Geleontes
), are said by Herodotus (5.66
) to have been derived from the sons of
Ion, son of Xuthus (see Eur. Ion 1596
&c.; Pollux, l.c.
), after the common
Greek custom of inventing a genealogy to account for a term. The
question of the true significance of these names has been much debated.
The etymology of the last three would seem to suggest that the tribes
were so called from the occupations which their respective members
followed; the Hopletes being the armed men, or warriors; the Argadeis,
labourers or husbandmen; the Aegicoreis, goatherds or shepherds. For the
form and etymological meaning of the first name, see article GELEONTES
the tribes as “a fixed number of noble clans, or groups of
families, who were recognised as of full blood.” Grote
repudiates the caste-theory (in common with most modern writers), and
gives up any attempt at either explaining the names by etymology or
ascertaining their connexion with the original population of Attica.
Schümann thinks “that each Phyle was named according to
the mode of life and the employment pursued by the majority or the
most important part of its members.” Thus, “if there
was a part of Attica whose inhabitants were principally devoted to
the rearing of cattle, especially of goats, the Phyle living there
was called the Phyle of the Aegicores.” He explains Geleontes
as “the illustrious,” i. e. the nobles, who lived in the
capital and its neighbourhood. Whatever be the truth with respect to the
origin of these tribes, one thing is more certain, that before the time
of Theseus, whom historians agree in representing as the great founder
of the Attic common wealth, the various peoples who inhabited the
country continued to be disunited and split into factions.
In the division of the inhabitants of Attica, traditionally ascribed to
Theseus, the people were divided into Εὐπατρίδαι, Γεωμόροι
), and Δημιουργοί,
of whom the first were nobles, the second
agriculturists or yeomen, the third labourers and mechanics. At the same
tire, id order to consolidate the national unity, he enlarged the city
of Athens, with which he incorporated several smaller towns, made it the
seat of government, encouraged the nobles to reside there, and
surrendered a part of the royal prerogative in their favour. The Tribes
or Phylae [p. 2.877]
were divided, each into three
(a term equivalent to
fraternities, and analogous in its political relation to the Roman
), and each φρατρία
into thirty γένη
(equivalent to the Roman Gentes
), the members of a γένος
being called γεννῆται
was distinguished by a particular name
of a patronymic form, which was derived from some hero or mythic
ancestor. We learn from Pollux (8.111) that these divisions, though the
names seem to import family connexion, were in fact artificial; which
shows that some advance had now been made towards the establishment of a
closer political union. The members of the θρατρίαι
their respective religious rites and festivals, which were preserved
long after these communities had lost their political importance, and
perhaps prevented them from being altogether dissolved. (Compare
Niebuhr, Hist. of Rome,
vol. i. p. 311, &c.)
The exact relation between the four Ionic tribes and the three Theseian
classes is still a matter of dispute. It would appear from the
statements of ancient writers on the subject that each
of the four tribes was divided into Eupatridae, Geomori,
and Demiurgi; some modern scholars, e. g. Philippi and Curtius, hold on
the contrary that the tribes and phratries were divisions of the
Eupatrids alone, and that the Geomori and Demiurgi were outside of the
tribal organisation. The reasons for rejecting this view are given under
After the age of Theseus, the monarchy having been first limited and
afterwards abolished, the whole power of the state fell into the hands
of the EUPATRIDAE
nobles, who held all civil offices, and had besides the management of
religious affairs and the interpretation of the laws. Attica became
agitated by feuds, and we find the people, shortly before the
legislation of Solon, divided into three parties,--Πεδιαῖοι
or lowlanders, Διάκριοι
or highlanders, and Πάραλοι
or people of the sea-coast. The first two
remind us of the ancient names of tribes, Mesogaea and Diacris; and the
three parties appear in some measure to represent the classes
established by Theseus: the first being the nobles, whose property lay
in the champaign and most fertile part of the country; the second, the
smaller landowners and shepherds; the third, the trading and mining
class, who had by this time risen in wealth and importance. To appease
their discords, Solon was applied to; and thereupon framed his
celebrated constitution and code of laws. Here we have only to notice,
that he retained the four tribes as he found them, but abolished the
existing distinctions of rank,
or at all events
greatly diminished their importance, by introducing his property
qualification, or division of the people into Πεντακοσιομέδιμνοι, Ἱππεῖς, Ζευγι-ται,
The enactments of Solon continued to
be the law
at Athens, though in great measure
suspended by the tyranny, until the democratic reform effected by
Cleisthenes. He abolished the old tribes, and created ten new ones,
according to a geographical division of Attica, and named them after ten
of the ancient heroes: Erechtheis, Aegeis, Pandionis, Leontis,
Acamantis, Oeneis, Secropis, Hippothoontis, Aeantis,
These tribes were divided each into ten δῆμοι,
the number of which was afterwards
increased by subdivision: but the arrangement was so made, that the
not contiguous or near to
one another were joined to make up a tribe. [DEMUS
] The object of this arrangement was that
by the breaking of old associations a perfect and lasting revolution
might be effected, in the habits and feelings, as well as the political
organisation of the people. He allowed the ancient φρατρίαι
to exist, but they were deprived of all
political importance. All foreigners admitted to the citizenship were
registered in a Phyle and Demus, but not in a Phratria or Genos; whence
765) says, as a taunting mode of
designating new citizens, that they have no phrators, or only barbarous
ones (quoted by Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 312). But if made citizens by a
complimentary vote, they were allowed to choose their Phratria as well
The functions which had been discharged by the old tribes were now
mostly transferred to the δῆμοι.
others, we may notice that of the forty-eight ναυκραρίαι
into which the old tribes had been divided
for the purpose of taxation, but which now became useless, the taxes
being collected on a different system. The reforms of Cleisthenes were
destined to be permanent. They continued to be in force (with some few
interruptions) until the downfall of Athenian independence. The ten
tribes were blended with the whole machinery of the constitution. Of the
Senate of five hundred, fifty were chosen from each tribe. The allotment
was according to tribes;
and the same system of election may be observed in most of the principal
offices of state, judicial and magisterial, civil and military; as that
of the διαιτηταί, λογισταί, πωληταί, ταμίαι,
τειχοποιοί, φύλαρχοι, στρατηγοί,
&c. In B.C.
307, out of compliment to Demetrius Poliorcetes, the Athenians increased
the number of tribes to twelve by creating two new ones, named
which were afterwards styled Ptolemais
and a thirteenth was
subsequently added under Hadrian, bearing his own name (Plut. Demetr. 10
; Paus. 1.5.5
; Pollux, 8.110).
The preceding account is only intended as a brief sketch of the subject,
since it is treated of under several other articles, which should be
read in connexion with this. [CIVITAS
(Greek); DEMUS; PHYLARCHI;
[See Wachsmuth, vol. i. pt. i. pp. 224-240; K. F. Hermann, Griech.
ed. 5 (1875), p. 348 f.; Busolt, Griech.
i. p. 390 f., with many references in notes;
Thirlwall, Hist. Greece,
ch. xi.; Grote, Hist.
part ii. chs. 10, 31; Curtius, Hist.
tr. by Ward, Book ii. ch. 2; Gilbert, Griech.
1.109 f., ii. passim;
Duncker, Gesch. Griech.
Boeckh, Staatshaushalt. Athen.,
ed. 3 (1886), 1.578 f.;
Schömann, Antiq. of Greece
(tr. by Hardy and
Mann), Part II. ch. 4, Part III. ch. 3; Fustel de Coulanges, La
ed. 10 (1883), p. 131 f.; Freeman,
Lect. 3; E. Abbott,
. The four
old-Ionic tribes were of immemorial antiquity, and were retained
unaltered by Solon, being still divided into τριττύες
100.8). The constitution
of Cleisthenes is described at length in 100.21. and the writer brings
out forcibly the desire of the legislator to break up the old
organisations and party ties: cf. DEMUS
Vol. 1.615 a. He did not adopt the number of twelve
tribes, as that would have coincided with the old division of the four
tribes into twelve τριττύες
: he divided
each of his ten tribes into τριττύες
a new principle, assigning one τριττὺς
to the ἄστυ,
one to the παραλία,
and one to the μεσόγαια, ὅπως ἑκάστη
) μετέχῃ πάντων
The theory, already advanced as probable,
that the city and ports now formed ten demes, one belonging to each
tribe, thus becomes almost a certainty [DEMUS
The Patrician Tribes.
--The derivation of the word tribus
is uncertain. In view of the three
earliest Roman tribes, there is a temptation to connect it with tres,
and this has [p. 2.878]
usually been done both by ancient and modern writers. Thus Dionysius
) gives as its Greek
while Varro (L. L.
5.55) says, “ager Romanus primum divisus in partes tres, a quo
tribus appellatur;” cf. also Plut.
. So,too, Pott (Etym. Forsch.
2.441) and after him Corssen (1.163) give the derivation as tri
(== bhu == fu:
). On the other hand, there is no
trace of any connexion with tres
in any of
the extant meanings of tribuo,
while on the
historical side it seems very uncertain whether the division into three
tribes was essential to the primitive Roman state. According to the
traditional account, the three ancient tribes--the Titienses (or
Tities), the Ramnes (or Ramnenses), and the Luceres--were created by
Romulus after the death of Tatius: “populumque et suo et Tatii
nomine et Lucumonis qui Romuli socius in Sabino proelio occiderat,
in tribus tres . . . descripserat” (Cic. de Rep. 2.8
, 14. See also Dionys. A. R. 2.7
, Varr. l.c.;
and cf. Liv.
). But apart from the worthlessness of such definite
statements with regard to the legendary period, it is much more probable
that the Roman state grew up by a gradual synoikismos of originally
independent communities, the number three being accidental and not
essential. In this connexion the generally accepted origin of the name
Titienses from Tatius the Sabine king cannot be regarded as of slight
importance; and if the institution of the “sodales Titii”
was, as Tacitus says (Ann.
“retinendis Sabinorum sacris,” this would certainly
seem to show that the Titienses, a Sabine tribe, entered into an already
existing Latin community; while the fact that they are usually put in
the first place and the Ramnes in the second (Varr. 5.55, 89, 91; Cic. de Rep. 2.20
Festus, p. 344) makes it probable that they entered it as conquerors
iii. p. 97). That the Ramnes were
of Latin race is practically certain, whether the name is connected with
Roma or Romulus. The origin of the Luceres is uncertain (Liv. 1.13
), nor is it necessary here to discuss
the question of their Latin or Etruscan origin, especially as the
latter, though very generally assumed, rests on no historical evidence
(Varr. 5.55; Plut. Rom. 20
; Cic. de Rep. 2.8
, 14; Fest.
p. 119; Niebuhr, Röm. Gesch.
i. p. 329 ff.;
Schwegler, Röm. Gesch.
i. p. 505, &c.;
Madvig, Verfass. und Verwalt. des röm. Staates,
i. p. 95, &c.). What seems certain is that the synoikismos took
place in pre-historic times, and all theories on the subject rest on a
very doubtful foundation. Possibly the three tribes coincided locally
with the original city which took part in the festival of the
Septimontium; and in this case we may perhaps suppose the Titienses to
have occupied the fortress in the Subura, the Ramnes the Palatine, and
the Luceres the three summits of the Esquiline (but see Liv. 1.33
for another hypothesis). This is,
however, at best a plausible conjecture (Mommsen,
iii. p. 99), though we have Varro's statement
(quoted above) that the three tribes were a division of the land as well
as of the inhabitants. At some later period, but before the
circumvallation ascribed to Servius Tullius, the neighbouring city on
the Quirinal seems to have been amalgamated with that of the
Septimontium; while, to avoid increasing the number or changing the
names of the three ancient tribes, these were now extended by a division
the Hillmen (Collini
as opposed to Montani
) being limited to the
latter, so that there were now primi
(Festus, p. 344). For the traditional
account of this change under Tarquinius Priscus, see Liv. 1.36
; Cic. de
, 36; Dionys.
A. R. 3.71
; where the direct reference, however, is only to
the patrician centuriae equitum,
alone, in historical times, the names of the three ancient tribes were
given. (See also Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 31, and
ch. 4; and for the best
statement of the contrary view, Volquardsen in Rhein.
xxxiii. p. 538 if.) If this view of a pre-historic
synoikismos is correct, then the term tribus
had no more connexion in its original application with
any threefold division, than it had when used of the Servian tribes. It
was, no doubt, connected with the same root as tribuo,
and may possibly have affinity, as Curtius
supposes, with the Celtic treb
(Grundz. d. gr. Etym.
p. 227). Its original meaning
was probably the territorium
community, as e. g. the tribus Sappinia (Liv.
and 33.37) is clearly a locality in Umbria. So in the
we find “trifu
Tadinate” and “trefiper Ijuvina,” clearly
co-ordinate with “tuta Tadinate” and “tutape
Ijuvina,” the former being the territoritum,
the latter the civic community of Tadinum and
Iguvium (Buecheler, Umbrica,
pp. 3, 8, and
95; Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 95). In Latin, however,
owing to the pre-historic synoikismos, tribus
appears to have the notion of part rather than
whole,--an idea which the Servian arrangement still further
strengthened. As survivals of the time when the tribes were independent
communities, may perhaps be regarded (1) such words as tribunal
“to join a district to a neighbouring community” (Caes. Gal. 60
, and Plin. Nat. 3
. § § 4, 37); (2) the fact
that ten curiae belonged to each tribe, since this finds its analogy in
other municipal constitutions, where ten curiae seem to be a usual
number (C. I. L.
8.1827, &c.); (3) the original
number of the senate was almost certainly 100 (Liv.
; Dionys. A. R. 2.12
Plut. Rom. 13
; Fest. s. v. patrse
),--a fact which also finds its analogy in
of Italian towns, and the
later number of 300 was probably made up by 100 from each of the three
tribes when they united; (4) the original number of Vestal Virgins
(Fest. p. 344), of augurs (Liv. 10.16
; Cic. de Rep. 2.19
, 16), and
of pontifices was three, or one from each tribe, while on the addition
of the gentes minores
they were raised to
six. Festus, p. 344: “sex Vestae sacerdotes constitutae sunt . . .
quia civitas Romana in sex est distributa partes, in primos
secundosque Titienses, Ramnes, Luceres.”
That in the pre-Servian period the patrician tribes were used as the
basis for taxation and the military levy, we know from Dionysius:
τὰς καταγραφὰς τῶν στρατιωτῶν καὶ τὰς
εἰσπράξεις τῶν χρημάτων . . . οὐκέτι κατὰ τὰς τρεῖς φυλὰς
τὰς γενικάς, ὡς πρότερον, ἀλλά, κ.τ.λ.
Varr. 5.181), although for the former we have no details. For the army,
each tribe furnished 1000 foot-soldiers, commanded [p. 2.879]
by a tribunus.
“milites quod trium milium primo legio fiebat, ac singulae
tribus Titiensium, Ramnium, Lucerum, milia militum
mittebant;” and 5.81, “tribuni militum quod terni ex tribus
tribubus Ramnium, Lucerum, Titium olim ad exercitum
mittebantur:” cf. Dionys. A. R.
.) The cavalry were originally represented by three centuries,
one from each of the three tribes (Liv.
), or ten men from each of the thirty curies (Fest. p. 55).
When the city was enlarged by the addition of the gentes minores,
these three centuries were increased to
six, each apparently containing 300 men (Liv.
), but retaining the old names, “posteriores modo sub
isdem nominibus qui additi erant appellati sunt, quas nunc quia
geminatae sunt, sex vocant centurias.” (See also Cic. de Rep. 2.20
, 36.) In
later times, in fact, as has been already mentioned, it is only in
connexion with these sex suffragia
) that the names Titienses,
Ramnes, and Luceres are retained, since for all other purposes they were
superseded by the Servian tribes.
The Servian Tribes.
--As an integral part of the so-called
Servian reformation,--by which the census was established, the Comitia
Centuriata organised upon it, and in consequence the land-holding
plebeians made to share the military and financial burdens of
citizenship,--there was a new division into tribes. The tribes so
created were four in number, and embraced the city as enclosed by the
Servian walls (Liv. 1.43
; Dionys. A. R. 4.14
). The well-known
passage in Dionysius (4.15
) has led
many authorities to suppose that Servius, in addition to the four urban
tribes, created also twenty--six rustic tribes. He says: διεῖλε δὲ καὶ τῆν χώραν ἅπασαν ὡς μὲν
Φάβιός φησιν εἰς μοίρας ἓξ καὶ εἵκοσιν, ἃς καὶ αὐτὰς
καλεῖ φυλάς, καὶ τὰς ἀστικὰς προστιθεὶς αὐταῖς τέτταρας,
τριάκοντα φυλὰς τὰς πάσας ἐπὶ ῾τυλλίου γενέσθαι λέγει: ὡς
δὲ Οὐεννώνιος ἱστόρηκεν εἰς μίαν τε καὶ τριάκοντα, ὥστε
σὺν ταῖς κατὰ πόλιν οὔσαις ἐκπεπληρῶσθαι τὰς ἔτι καὶ
εἰς ἡμᾶς ὑπαρχούσας τριάκοντα καὶ πέντε φυλάς: ἀμφοτέρων
μέντοι Κάτων τούτων ἀξιοπιστότερος οὐχ ὁρίζει τῶν μοιρῶν
But though Fabius Pictor, writing in
Greek, may have called the rustic divisions φυλαί,
this by no means proves that they were
technically tribes; and Dionysius himself, no doubt following Varro,
prefers the neutral term μοῖραι,
probably represents regiones
We know for certain that there were only
twenty-one tribes as late as 367 A.U.C. (Liv. 6.5
), while at this early period it is
extremely improbable that the territory outside the city was as yet
distributed among individual owners: it was probably still held in
common by the gentes,
and, if so, was not
applicable for division into tribes. For it is well established that
only that land fell under the tribes which was held ex iure Quiritium
by an individual owner; and therefore,
while all ager publicus,
on the one hand,
was excluded from them, on the other no less the common gentile
property, prior to its distribution among the individual gentiles,
could not have been included in the
tribes. It seems better therefore to suppose that only four tribes were
made, and that the division into rustic districts was on some other
principle. The names of the four tribes were Sucusana (the later form
was Suburana, but the original form is attested both by SVC in inscriptions and by Varro, 5.48),
Palatina, Esquilina, and Collina. That this is the fixed order of the
tribes appears from Varro (5.56) and Festus (p. 368); while Cicero also
(de Leg. Agr.
2.29, 79) gives Suburana as the first
(see also Plin. Nat. 18.3
). Where a
different order is given, it is usually from some definite reason, as e.
g. in Varro, 5.46, in connexion with the order of the procession to the
Argean chapels; in Liv. Epit.
xx., with reference to the
and in C. I.
6.10211, in reference to the frumentationes.
That these tribes, like the patrician,
were primarily a division of the land, appears at once from the names,
and Dionysius (4.14
) expressly calls
(see also Laelius Felix
ap. Gel. 15.27
). They may possibly have been
engrafted on to the old patrician divisions, Sucusana corresponding with
that of the Titienses, Palatina with that of the Ramnes, Esquilina with
that of the Luceres, while Collina would embrace the Quirinal city. In
this way at least the order of the tribes would be satisfactorily
accounted for. The opinion once generally held, that the four tribes
embraced the territory outside Rome as well as the city, was to a large
extent founded on the assumption that Ostia, the earliest citizencolony,
belonged to Palatina (Grotefend, Imp. Rom. trib.
p. 67, and Fest. p. 213). This is now, however, given
up by Mommsen (Staatsr.
iii. p. 163) and Kubitschek
(Imp. Rom. trib. discript.
p. 26), since inscriptions
show that though a number of the inhabitants at Ostia, possibly the
Greek traders or their sons, belonged to Palatina (see below), the
colony itself was assigned to Voturia (Wilm. 1720 and 1729,
&c.). Neither the Capitol nor the Aventine was included in the
Servian tribes, because they were still public and not private property
; Dionys. A. R. 10.31
and 32); and both Livy (1.43
) and Pliny (Plin. Nat. 18.3
) limit the four tribes to the inhabited
parts of the city.
Extension of the Tribes.
--At what date the first rustic
tribes were added to the four Servian tribes, it is impossible to say
with certainty, nor how many were first created, since tradition is
practically silent upon both points. That there were twenty-one tribes
in 367 A.U.C. we know (Liv.
), but that the increase from four to twenty-one was made
at one time is on the whole improbable. All the best MSS. of Liv. 2.21
contain under the year 259 A.U.C. the words “Romae tribus una et
triginta factae.” To correct this from the Epitome to
“una et viginti” is certainly unsafe, since the
epitomator may easily have corrected the text from Liv. 6.5
; and there is much to be said for Mommsen's
hypothesis that the original reading, till tampered with by an ignorant
scribe, was the mere annalistic statement, “Romae tribus
factae.” The passage again of Dionysius (7.64
) with regard to the trial of
Coriolanus in 263 A.U.C. is clearly corrupt.
He says, μιᾶς γὰρ καὶ εἴκοσι τότε φυλῶν
οὐσῶν, αἷς ἡ ψῆφος ἀνεδόθη, τὰς ἀπολυούσας ἔσχεν ὁ
Μάρκιος ἐννέα: ὥστ᾽ εἰ δύο προσῆλθον αὐτῷ φυλαί, διὰ
τὴν ἰσοψηφίαν ἀπελύετο ἄν, ὥσπερ ὁ νόνος
As the number twenty-one is inconsistent with the
one part of the
statement must be rejected. The latter, however, is almost too [p. 2.880]
definite to admit of mistake, and it seems
better therefore to assume that Dionysius (or a scribe) carelessly
substituted the more familiar number twenty-one, certainly existing for
a considerable time previous to 367 A.U.C.,
for the earlier number twenty; while some similar, but inexplicable,
confusion lurks under the numbers ἐννέα
from this confessedly uncertain inference, the list of the earliest
seventeen rustic tribes also leads to the conclusion that there was a
period when the tribes were twenty in number. The names in alphabetical
order, as we know them from texts or inscriptions, are as
follows:--Aemilia (Liv. 38.36
(C. L. L.
6.2890), Claudia (Liv.
), Clustumina or Crustumina (Cic.
pro Balb. 25
), Cornelia (Liv. 38.36
), Fabia (Suet. Aug. 40
), Galeria (Liv.
), Horatia (Wilm. 681), Lemonia (Cic. pro Planc. 16
), Menenia (Cic. Fam. 13.9
), Papiria (Liv. 8.37
), Pollia (Liv.
), Pupinia (Cic. Fam.
), Romulia (Cic. de Ley.
Agr. 2.2. 9
), Sergia (Cic.
in Vat. 15
), Voltinia (Cic. pro Planc. 16
Voturia or Veturia (Liv. 26.22
). Of these
seventeen names, sixteen were clearly formed in the same way from the
names of patrician gentes, some of them known in historical times,
others probably extinct at an early period. On the other hand, one only,
Clustumina (CLV. not CRV. generally in inscriptions: see also Festus, p. 55, where
Crustumina is found in the MSS., but placed between Cluras and
Clucidatum), is a place-name similar to those of all the tribes (except
Poblilia) created after 367 A.U.C. The
inference from this seems irresistible that it was a later creation than
the other sixteen. That the earliest rustic tribes bore some sort of
relation to the Servian division into PAGI,
would seem probable in itself, and receives some slight confirmation
from Festus (p. 115), who says, “Lemonia tribus a pago Lemonio,
qui est a porta Capena via Latina.” But details are wanting,
and it is at best an hypothesis, though a probable one, that the sixteen
tribes were made when the common gentile property in land was
transformed into individual ownership, the former gentile ownership
leaving traces in the names of the tribes, which were taken from the
more prominent families. With relation to Claudia, the tradition is
still extant of the way in which land was assigned to the newly-admitted
Claudian gens, and of the subsequent development of the tribe: χώραν τ᾽ αὐτῷ προσέθηκεν ἐκ τῆς δημοσίας τὴν
μέταξυ Φιδήνης καὶ Πικεντίας, ὡς ἔχοι διανεῖμαι κλήρους
ἅπασι τοῖς περὶ αὐτὸν
(this seems to imply that it
was gentile property) ἀφ᾽ ὧν καὶ φυλή τις
ἐγένετο σὺν χρόνῳ Κλαυδία καλουμένη
(Dionys. A. R. 5.40
. See also Liv. 2.16
). Though named after patrician
gentes, these sixteen tribes were as much local divisions as the earlier
and later ones. The position of Claudia is given above by Dionysius,
while Livy (l.c.
) describes the “vetus
Claudia tribus” as “ager trans Anienem.” Of the
Papiria tribus, Festus says, “a Papirio appellata est vel a nomine
agri qui circa Tusculum est;” while of Pupinia, which
adjoined it, he says (p. 233), “Pupinia tribus ab agri nomine
dicta qui Pupinus appellatur, inter Tusculum urbemque situs.”
Livy also (26.9) shows that the eighth milestone on the Via Praenestina
lay in this tribe (cf. also Cic. de
Leg. Agr. 2.3. 5
, 96). Romulia again is “ex
eo agro quem Romulus ceperat ex Veientibus” (Fest. p. 271).
For the attempt to localise Pollia, Fabia, Horatia, and Galeria, see
Beloch, Der ital. Bund,
pp. 29, 30. That all these
earliest tribes were in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome, we should
suppose from the nature of the case, and it is also expressly stated by
Festus (p. 371, s. v. viatores
). The 21st
tribe, Clustumina, was named after the extinct town Crustumerium (Liv. 1.38
; Fest. p. 55), in the territory of
which was the mons sacer
to which the plebs
seceded in 260 A.U.C. (cf. the expression of
Varro, 5.81, “in secessione Crustumerina” ). As the result
of the secession the plebs were allowed to elect tribunes, at first
assembled according to their curies, but, after the Lex Publilia of 283
; Dionys. A. R. 9.41
according to their tribes. Mommsen with great probability supposes that
it was on this occasion, in order to make for voting purposes an unequal
number of tribes, that the 21st was added, and that it was called, in
memory of the secession, Clustnmina (Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 153).
As more and more land became the private property of Roman citizens,
either by distribution or by the foundation of colonies or by the
reception of peregrini
citizen-body, the number of tribes gradually increased, but till the
year 367 A.U.C. it still remained at
twenty-one. In 366, however, the civitas was given to a number of people
from Veii, Capena, and Falerii, and land was distributed among the new
citizens (Liv. 6.4
). Accordingly, next year
four new tribes were created (Liv. 6.5
Stellatina (so called from a district near the city of Capena, Fest. p.
343); Tromentina ( “a campo Tromento,” Fest. p. 367),
probably near Veii, since we find citizens of the restored Veii
belonging to this tribe (Wilm. 2079; Orelli, 3448); Sabatina ( “a
lacu Sabate,” Fest. p. 342); and Arnensis, perhaps from a
river Aro in Etruria. In 372 A.U.C.
quinqueviri were appointed to divide the ager Pomptinus in the Volscian
land (Liv. 6.21
), and after an interval of
some years in 396 two new tribes were made, Pomptina and Poblilia (Liv. 7.15
). That Poblilia (the name of which
was apparently not local: see Fest. p. 233) was near the territory of
the Hernici, is probable from the fact that later Anagnia, Ferentinum,
and Aletrium were assigned to this tribe (Kubitsch., Imp. Rom.
p. 22). In 417 A.U.C. the inhabitants of Lanuvium, Aricia, and Nomentum received
the civitas (Liv. 8.14
), and in 422 were
arranged in the census; two new tribes, Maecia and Scaptia (both named
after extinct towns, Fest. pp. 136 and 342), being created (Liv. 8.17
). In 431 A.U.C the number was raised to thirty-one by the addition of
Oufentina and Falerna (Liv. 9.20
), a step no
doubt rendered necessary by the distribution of the ager Falernus and
Privernas in 415 (Liv. 8.11
), the granting of
the civitas to the Privernates in 426, and the colony led to Terracina
), since according to Festus
(p. 194) the name Oufentina is derived from a river “in agro
Privernati.” In 454 A.U.C., perhaps
in connexion with the triumph over and punishment of the Aequi and
Hernici (Liv. 9.43
and 45), were created
) Aniensis and Teretina (
“a flumine Terede,”
Fest. p. 363); while in 513 the Sabine
territories, of which the inhabitants had been admitted into the
citizenship in 486 (Vell. Paterc. 1.14, 7) and some other land, perhaps
that of the Praetuttiani, were made into two fresh tribes, Quirina and
Velina (Liv. Epit.
xix.). This number thirty-five was
never exceeded (Liv. 1.43
; Dionys. A. R. 4.15
; Cic. Phil. 6.5
; Wilm. 679, 888, &c.); but whether the limit was
fixed when the last two tribes were made, or in 534, the date of the
reform of the Comitia Centuriata (see below), is uncertain. It is
possible, though hardly likely, that the name Quirina was intended to
mark the completion of the “populus Romanus Quiritium.” The
derivation, however, of Festus (p. 254), “a Curensibus
Sabinis,” seems more probable.
Italia tributim descripta.
--Up to 513 A..T.C. the tribes were more or less
definitely bounded districts, of which the positions are known,
imperfectly in the case of the oldest rustic tribes, with greater
certainty in the case of those created since 367. While the former class
were all in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome, the latter were
situated in S. Etruria, Latium, the territory of the Volsci and Hernici,
part of Campania, and the Sabine land. But even during this period,
probably the original tribe (cf. the expression “vetus Claudia
) in few cases remained absolutely
unenlarged, for every assignation of land to Roman citizens, however
small, and the establishment of every colony, increased the amount of
land to be distributed among the tribes. Only where the amount of land
distributed was large, was there any necessity for new tribes: in other
cases the land in question was no doubt assigned to the nearest existing
tribe. Of the small distributions no annalistic record remains. Of
colonies, Tusculum, probably during this period but after 431 A.U.C. (Liv. 8.37
was assigned to Papiria, Minturnae in 458 to Teretina, Aricia to Horatia
in 417 (Liv. 8.14
), Sinuessa to Falerna
), Antium in 416 to Voturia.
But after the number of the tribes was closed, geographical compactness
was lost. All freshly assigned or colonised territory, and all civitates sine suffragio
admitted to the full
franchise, had now to be distributed among the existing tribes; and the
further from Rome this process extended, the more disjointed and broken
up did the tribes become. To a certain extent, no doubt, the principle
was observed of assigning new territory to the nearest tribes; and this,
as Kubitschek rightly observes, tended by increasing the number of
members to depreciate the importance for voting purposes of the later or
outlying tribes. Thus we find Capua, Atella, Acerrae, Suessula,
belonging to Falerna; Casinum, Atina, Venafrum, Allifae, to Teretina;
Velitrae, Circeii, and Signia, to Pomptina; Anagnia, Ferentinum,
Aletrium, to Poblilia; while the Picenian territory distributed by a Lex
Flaminia in 522 (Plb. 2.21
) seems all to have
been assigned to Velina. On the other hand, Formiae and Fundi, when
taken into the citizenship, were assigned to Aemilia; Arpinum in Apulia
and Fulginium in Umbria to Cornelia (Liv.
); Cliterna in the Sabine land to Claudia (Grotef. p. 46);
Falerii to Horatia (Orelli, 1364), &c. This breaking up and
mutilation of the tribes was not completely effected till after the
Social war, when the civitas was given to all the peregrinae civitates
south of the Po; and in consequence
all the land with very few exceptions, such as at first the ager
Campanus, falling into full Quiritary ownership, had to be distributed
among the tribes. The manner in which the new territory was distributed
is stated differently by our two authorities, Appian and Velleius
Paterculus. The former (B.C.
1.49) says that they did not
enrol the new citizens into the thirty-five tribes, ἵνα μὴ τῶν ἀρχαίων πλέονες ὄντες ἐν ταῖς
χειροτονίαις ἐπικρατοῖεν, ἀλλὰ δεκατεύοντες ἀπέφηναν
ἑτέρας ἐν δἷς ἐχειροτόνουν ἐλσχατοι.
refers to the Lex Julia of 664, by which the civitas was given to the
Latini and the faithful allies (Cic. pro
, 21), and, if the reading δεκατεύοντες
is correct, it must mean that
ten new tribes were created. On the other hand, Velleius says (2.20),
“cum ita civitas Italiae data esset, ut in octo tribus
contribuerentur novi cives;” i. e. the new citizens were
confined to eight of the existing tribes. This may, as Kubitschek
supposes, refer to the Plautio-Papirian plebiscitum of 665, by which the
revolted allies gained the franchise (Cic.
pro Arch. 4
, 7). Kubitschek, reading
thinks that he can show by
inscriptions that the faithful allies in accordance with the Lex Julia
were enrolled in fifteen, i. e. in a minority, of the thirty-one rustic
tribes, while the revolted allies by the Plautio-Papirian law were
enrolled in half of the remaining sixteen, viz. Aniensis, Clustumina,
Fabia, Falerna, Galeria, Pomptina, Sergia, and Voltinia. The theory is
undoubtedly ingenious, and both Kubitschek and Beloch (Der
) make out a very specious case. But the
objections are twofold. (1) The evidence of inscriptions, besides being
by the nature of the case incomplete, breaks down, as Mommsen shows
xxii. p. 101 ff.), in several
points, since not only are revolted states found in Horatia, Cornelia,
and Oufentina, but the faithful allies are found practically spread over
all the rustic tribes. (2) Whatever may have been the original
distribution into tribes, the restriction was certainly only temporary.
Complete equality for the new citizens became part of the democratic
programme; and apart from the abortive attempt of Sulpicius, Cinna,
apparently twice (Liv. Epit.
lxxx. and lxxxiv.), gave
them the equal franchise, while Sulla almost certainly acquiesced in the
arrangement (Liv. Epit.
lxxxvi). Though, however, the
inscriptions, on which Kubitschek and Beloch rely, do not prove all that
they suppose, they do nevertheless show that an attempt at grouping
neighbouring territories together was still kept up after the Social
war; and so we find Aniensis prevalent among the Frentani, Clustumina
and Lemonia in Umbria, Fabia and Pomptina in Lucania, Sergia among the
Marsi and Paeligni, Voltinia among the Samnites, Papiria in Latium,
Menenia in Campania, Aemilia among the Aurunci, Galeria among the
Hirpini, and above all Pollia in the Cis-Padane portion of Gallia
Cisalpina, which now received the franchise with the rest (cf. in
Grotefend Parma, Mutina, Forum Cornelii, Forum Fulvii, Faventia,
Pollentia, and many other towns). But, notwithstanding those local
groupings, the [p. 2.882]
general result of the
distribution of Italy into the tribes was such that the parts of any one
tribe could only be given by an enumeration of the different civitates
contained in it. Cf. Cic. de pet.
, 30: “Postea totam Italiam fac ut
in animo ac memoria tributim descriptam habeas.”
The Tribe and its members:
--The tribe, as has been stated,
was primarily a division of the land held in Quiritarian ownership, but
it was also applied in a personal sense to the owners of the land, and
involved certain rights and privileges, duties and responsibilities.
Originally only land--owning citizens (adsidui
) were members of the tribes, but within this limit
both patricians and plebeians belonged to them. For later times the
presence of patricians in the tribes is abundantly attested; but for the
earliest times also the patrician gentile names of the sixteen earliest
rustic tribes are conclusive evidence of the same thing, as well as the
traditional origin of the Claudian tribe. Membership of a tribe then at
first belonged to those citizens who owned land in it, as well as to
their agnate descendants; and accordingly, while the tribe, as a
division of the land, was immutable, the tribe as a category of persons
might be changed, since in theory transfer or loss of landed property
implied transfer or loss of tribe. But this strict connexion between
landed property and membership of the same tribe must soon have been
modified, (1) by those cases in which a citizen owned property in more
than one tribe; (2) where civitates sine
were admitted to the full franchise, and their
territory assigned to some one tribe. In the first case, as personal
membership of more than one was impossible, probably the censor de iure,
but the citizen himself de facto,
decided to which he should belong. In
the second case the citizens of the newly-enfranchised civitas
would as a rule take the tribe of the
territory, even if their landed property lay elsewhere (Liv. 38.36
). As time went on, too, the
tendency became greater for membership of a tribe to become hereditary,
and so practically unchanging; in so far, that is, as no alteration was
caused by the censor's interference. Such interference would at once
take place whenever the qualification of landed property was lost, a
loss which was at first followed by loss of tribe and transfer to the
, &c.); while, as the disciplinary power of the
censorship was developed, the censors acquired the power, by way of
punishment for various moral delinquencies, of treating land-owning
citizens as though they were not adsidui,
and placing them also among the aerarii
(cf. Liv. 24.18
, &c.). Conversely,
of course, if the disqualification of either kind was removed, citizens
would pass from the aerarii
into a tribe
(ex aerariis eximere,
Cic. de Orat. 2.66
, 268). Till 442
A.U.C. only adsidui
had been members of the tribes, nor was there any
distinct difference of rank de iure
the urban and rustic tribes, though probably de
from an early period the former were considered as less
honourable. But when the tributum,
as will be seen below, was in close connexion with the tribes, was made
into a tax assessed on movable as well as immovable property, the
connexion between landed property and tribe--membership was weakened, a
tendency which was perhaps reflected in the revolutionary measure of
Appius Claudius, the censor in 442, by which all citizens, proletarii
as well as adsidui,
were enrolled indiscriminately in the tribes
). Whatever may have been the
motive of this measure, it was of no long duration, as in 449 Q. Fabius
Rullianus, while admitting landless citizens to the tribes, limited them
to the four urban tribes, while the landed proprietors still retained
exclusive possession of the rustic tribes (Liv.
; cf. Plin. Nat. 18.14
“rusticae tribus laudatissimae eorum qui rura haberent;
urbanae vero in qua transferri ignominiae esset, desidiae probro;”
Cic. de Leg. Agr. 2.2.
, 79; Dionys. A. R. 19.18
τὰς ἀτίμους τῶν φυλῶν
). As a
consequence of this measure, all Roman citizens were from this time
members of a tribe, and,
accordingly, as it was inadmissible for the censors to deprive any one
of his citizenship (Liv. 45.15
disciplinary power was limited to degrading from the rustic to the urban
tribes, and this is all that is meant henceforth by the phrases
“aerarium facere.” (For a possible instance of the converse
process, see Cic. pro Balb.
, 27.) From this time, too, the tribe was regularly added to
the full citizen's name, being placed between the father's name and the
cognomen, e. g. Ser. Sulpicius Q. F. Lemonia Rufus (Cic. Phil. 9.7
; ad Fam.
8.8). A consequence of this
distinction in rank between the urban and rustic tribes was of course
the surrender of any attempt hitherto made at maintaining equality of
number among the members of the tribes. While the urban tribes must have
contained far more than the rest, we have already seen a similar
tendency among the rustic tribes themselves; and the tribes in the
immediate neighbourhood of Rome, such as Horatia, Lemonia, Menenia,
Romulia, &c., seem to have received few new members, and to have
remained the strongholds of the nobility. Whether, as Mommsen thinks is
implied by Liv. 40.51
, the censors had the
power of enrolling certain categories of nonland-owning citizens in the
rustic tribes, must be left uncertain; but there was certainly one class
of men, the libertini,
whose position in
the tribes differed from that of the other citizens. At first, we may
assume, they were admitted on the same conditions as the rest, but
probably in the censorship of C. Flaminius (534 A.U.C.) they were all, whether land-owners or not, limited to
the urban tribes (Liv. Ep.
xx.). Before 586 we find that
this was relaxed in the case of those who had a son five years old, or
landed property to the value of 30,000 sesterces (Liv. 45.15
), though it was apparently open to the censors to
disregard this rule; and we even find Ti. Gracchus, censor in 586,
limiting all freedmen to one tribe to be settled by lot (Liv. l.c.;
Cic. de Or. 1.9
After the Social war, equality in the tribes for the libertini
was part of the popular programme; but though
it was carried by Sulpicius (Liv. Ep.
lxxvii.), and again
by Cinna (Liv. ib. lxxxiv.), Sulla restored the former state of things;
and neither Manilius in 687 (Cic. pro Corn.
in Ascon. p. 64), nor Clodius in 695 (Cic.
pro Mil. 33
, 89), were able to effect a
change, and the disability of libertini
seems to have continued under the Empire, since though they were members
of the urban tribes, so far [p. 2.883]
as the corn
distribution was concerned, the fact that the tribe does not, with few
exceptions, appear in the names of libertini,
probably, as Mommsen argues, proves some
inferiority of position. But, with the exception of the libertini,
we find that, after the Social war,
all citizens alike were admitted into the rustic tribes. We have seen
that even in earlier times the personal tribe of the newly-enfranchised
cives sine suffragio
followed that to
which the territory of their native city was assigned (Liv. 38.36
); and when after the war Italy was
practically made into a complexus of fully--enfranchised municipia, each
with its own territory, and that territory assigned to a tribe (cf.
Cic. pro Mur. 20
the inevitable result followed that personal membership in a tribe,
irrespective of all other considerations, was decided in the case of
each individual, provided that he was ingenuus,
by his domus
in one of these municipalities.
In fact, from this time the Roman civitas had essentially changed its
character: Rome was no longer one civitas
among others, nor even the head of a confederation of civitates;
it was rather the “communis
patria” of all Roman citizens, who were also with few exceptions
(Cic. Phil. 3.6
some local community, and it was this local connexion which was marked
by the tribe. So closely indeed were membership in a tribe and
incorporation in a municipium connected, that where, as in the most
ancient rustic tribes within the original ager Romanus, Quiritary
ownership of land was unconnected with membership in a municipality,
some regrouping of land was necessary, the land belonging formerly to
these tribes being assigned to the territory of neighbouring towns, and
forming part of the tribe to which those towns belonged; while again in
parts, where, as in Picenum, the municipal system had not been
developed, probably the praefecturae, as a substitute, assumed municipal
rank (Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 783). How entirely the
tribe was made dependent on the domus
is shown by the fact that a Roman
citizen, if transferred to a colony--e. g. a legionary veteran settled
in a military colony--took the tribe of his new domus
a number of cases
collected by Grotefend, p. 15 ff., in which two tribes are given in
inscriptions, i. e. of the new and the original domus
). From the time when the old distinction between the
urban and rustic tribes was thus abolished, another of a less definite
character gradually grew up, and was certainly observed during the
Empire. While the connexion. between a tribe and a municipal territory
only applied to the rustic tribes, the urban tribes now contained
citizens who, though free-born, were on account of some personal grounds
excluded from the former: e. g. (1) sons of libertini
are often found in Palatina or Collina; (2)
individuals of Greek birth, personally admitted to the franchise,
frequently appear in Collina; (3) illegitimate children are found in
Collina, Suburana, and Esquilina; (4) actors and sons of actresses
appear in Esquilina; while (5) at the great trading ports, such as Ostia
and Puteoli, so many individuals are proved by inscriptions to have
belonged to Palatina, that it was formerly supposed that these towns
were assigned to that tribe. This, however, was not the case, since
Ostia belonged to Voturia, and Puteoli probably to Falerna, and it is a
not improbable conjecture of Mommsen that these members of Palatina were
Greek traders or their sons who had been admitted to the franchise. The
fact that these urban tribules
admitted to the legions or praetorian cohorts, but only to the cohortes urbanae,
seems to place them half-way
between the rustic tribules
libertini (Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 443; C. I.
Tribes in the Provinces.
--With regard to the provinces, it
has to be remembered that all provincial land, except in cases where the
was specially conferred,
was ager publicus,
necessarily stood outside the tribes. But as soon as the practice began
of conferring the Roman franchise upon provincial towns, since, with the
exceptions already alluded to, there was no territorium
on which to attach the tribe, which
nevertheless was indispensable to Roman citizens, it was used, as
applied to provincials, in a purely personal sense, though in strict
analogy with the territorial tribe in Italy. In other words, at the time
when a civitas was admitted to the full franchise, the tribe to which
its citizens were to belong Was specified; while probably, though
perhaps not quite so early, even in non-Roman towns, such as Latin
colonies, &c., the rule grew up that all individuals within
them, who acquired the franchise, should be enrolled in some specified
tribe. Prior to the time of Augustus it is hardly possible to find any
fixed rules, or any definite grouping, and we find e. g. the colonies of
Julius Caesar in Gallia Narbonensis assigned to Papiria (Narbo),
Teretina (Arelate), Pupinia (Baeterrae), and Aniensis (Forum Julii); but
Augustus appears to have aimed at somewhat greater uniformity, and to
have generally assigned Galeria for the Spanish provinces, Voltinia for
Gallia Narbonensis (see Kubitschek, de Orig.,
&c., p. 204), Sergia for Dalmatia, Arnensis for Africa, and
Collina for the Oriental provinces. Later emperors, though observing a
certain method in the matter, took a somewhat different course, and,
instead of assigning certain tribes to certain provinces, seem to have
made use of their own tribe in grants made by them of the franchise to
provincials. Thus Claudius, whose family by a re-grouping of the Claudia
tribus seems to have been transferred to Quirina, assigned his
Mauritanian colonies Caesarea, Oppidum Novum, Rusuccurium, and Tipasa to
that tribe (Grotef. p. 161 ff.); while later in his reign he gave the
preference to the original tribe of his house, and so Colonia
Agrippinensis, Savaria, Virunum, Celeia, and Juvavum, all belong to
Claudia. The Flavian house again belonged, as springing from Reate, to
Quirina, and accordingly we find all Flavian colonies, in all parts of
the Empire, assigned to that tribe, while the prevalence of Quirina in
the Spanish provinces is due to the fact that Vespasian gave the
to all Spanish civitates
(Plin. Nat. 3.30
). Though Trajan,
as sprung from Italica, would naturally have belonged to Sergia, he
assumed his adoptive father's tribe--Papiria (Nerva came from Narnia:
see Kubitschek, p. 73), and we find all his colonies in Germany, Moesia,
Dacia, and Africa assigned to that tribe (see Mommsen, Ephem.
iii. p. 230 ff.). [p. 2.884]
The Tribes as organised for administrative and political
--The political activity of the tribes was probably not
anterior to the Publilian law of 283 A.U.C.
Their original aim was purely administrative, and had reference (1) to
the census, (2) to the levy, (3) to the tributum and military pay. As to
(1), there is no doubt that the tribes were primarily instituted by
Servius as a basis for the census, which formed the essential part of
his constitution. So Dionysius (5.75
) describes τιμήσεις κατὰ φυλὰς
τῶν βίων ἐνεγκεῖν
κράτιστον τῶν ὑῶν ὑπὸ Σερουΐου Τυλλίου κατασταθέντων
while Cicero (de Legg.
says of the censors, “populi partes in tribus discribunto; exin
pecunias, aequitates, ordines partiunto” (see also the
account of the census of 548 A.U.C. in Liv. 29.37
, and Cic.
pro Flacc. 32
, 80). (2) The locus classicus
for the relation of the tribes
to the military levy is Plb. 6.20
, from which
it appears that the tribes were summoned one by one in an order
appointed by lot (see also V. Max. 6.3
), four men being taken at every
summons from each tribe, one for each legion, until the full number of
four legions was made up, so that in theory there were to be an equal
number of men in every legion from each tribe. See also Dionys. A. R. 4.14
, where the levy was to be taken not from the whole people,
but only from ten tribes. One consequence of all the tribes being
represented equally in the army was that the Comitia tributa could on
emergencies be held in camp (Liv. 7.16
in later times the equal proportion of troops from every tribe was given
up, need hardly be said, but probably during the whole of the Republic
the levy was in some way based on the tribes, and even under the Empire,
though the recruiting now took place through all the provinces, the fact
that none but Roman citizens were admitted to the legion still kept up a
certain connexion between the levy and the tribes. (See Tac. Hist. 3.58
, and Suet. Nero 44
.) Only in cases of emergency
were legions enrolled from the urban population (Tac. Ann. 1.31
; and for the relation
generally of the tribes to the army, see Mommsen, Tribus,
pp. 132-143, who, however, has now given up the
attempt made there at arithmetical symmetry). (3) The derivation of
Varro (5.81), “tributum dictum a tribubus quod ex pecunia quae
populo imperata erat, tributim a singulis exigebatur,” is
confessedly not correct (for the converse derivation, see Liv. 1.43
), and tributum
most probably comes from tribuere,
and means that which is partitioned among the
citizens. Since, however, the tributum
originally levied only upon land, and all adsidui
were in the tribes, the collection of the tax was
naturally and most conveniently made tributim
(Dionys. A. R.
). Apparently, however, from such passages as Liv. 1.41
and Dionys. A. R. 4.19
, the tributum was first levied on the
property of the classes as shown by the census (usually “1 pro
); but since the classes and their
centuries only came together in the Campus Martins and had no local
connexion, it was collected from the various tribes by the tribuni aerarii,
who had the tribal register
showing to what class each tribesman belonged. The primary object of the
tributum was to provide pay for the soldiers in war. Up to the year 848
; Dionys. A. R. 4.19
stipendium was not paid by the state, but apparently by the tribes
themselves, the tribuni aerarii
means both of collecting the money from their tribules
and paying it to the soldiers whom the tribe
provided (Fest. p. 234). After 348 the stipendium was paid by the
aerarium, usually at the end of the campaign, after the soldiers had
returned home, and it was paid tributim
means of the tribuni aerarii
Fest. p. 2; Plin. Nat. 34.1
however, campaigns were prolonged beyond a single year, payment was made
in camp by the quaestor and connexion with the tribes and tribuni aerarii
ceased. To carry out these
objects a certain organisation was necessary. The tribes were presided
over by officials, called at first tribuni
from the most important of their functions. Perhaps
originally there was one for each tribe. In course of time, as the duty
of paying the soldiers was taken from them, and when the reform of the
Comitia Centuriata in 534 A.U.C. essentially
altered the constitution of the tribes, the name probably disappeared
from official language, and that of “curatores tribuum”
took its place, while in all probability the number of these was ten for
each tribe, five (one for each class) among the seniores, and five for
the juniores. To this later period are probably to be referred the words
of Dionysius (4.14
), ἡγεμόνας ἐφ᾽ ἑκάστης συμμορίας.
true that we find eight curatores for the tribus Sucusana
(C. I. L.
6.199, 200; Orelli, 1740,
&c.); but these inscriptions date from Vespasian's> time,
and no doubt the connexion of the tribes with the corn-distribution (see
below) and the addition of certain corpora of freedmen (cf. corpus
Julianum, Wilm. 1703) altered in many respects the republican
organisation. These curatores tribuum were annually elected (C.
6.144); and if, as is probable, they were the body of
men who under the old and nearly obsolete name of tribuni aerarii
were added as a third decuria of judices
by the Lex Aurelia of 684 A.U.C., there must
have been a certain property qualification for the office, a survival
possibly of the time when they may have had to provide security for the
money which passed through their hands (see Mommsen, Tribus,
pp. 44 ff. and 77 ff.; Staatsr.
iii. p. 189 ff.). As far as political activity is concerned, the tribes
have no importance prior to 283 A.U.C. Up to
that time, the tribuni plebis were elected by the plebs assembled
according to curies. Dionys. A. R.
, and Cic. pro Cornel.
in Ascon. p. 76, say in
the Comitia Curiata, i. e. by patricians as well as plebeians; but
Mommsen is probably right in discrediting this statement
iii. p. 151). But the local associations
which were so much stronger in the tribes made a change desirable to the
plebeians; and accordingly the Lex Publilia (Liv.
) enacted “ut plebeii magistratus tributis comitiis
fierent” (cf. also Dionys. A. R.
). That the Comitia tributa, however, in their later
sense existed at this date, is extremely improbable; and again we must
follow Mommsen in interpreting these statements to mean that the
tribunes were now elected by the landowning plebeians assembled in their
tribes (see Zonaras after Dio Cassius, 7.17, ἐξεῖναι τῷ πλήθει καὶ καθ᾽ ἑαυτὸ συνιέναι καὶ ἄνευ
(the patricians) βουλεύεσθαι καὶ χρημαρίζειν
); and we have already seen
reason to believe that it was on this occasion that the 21st tribe,
Clustumina, was created. How the concilium plebis gradually assumed
wider political activity by the Valerio-Horatian law of 306 (Liv. 3.55
) and the Horatian law of 465, and how
eventually the Comitia tributa, i. e. the whole populus, patricians and
plebeians together, assembled by tribes, became established as one of
the recognised organs of legislation, is described in the article on COMITIA TRIBUTA (see also Mommsen,
i. p. 150 ff., and
iii. p. 321 ff.); and it is only necessary
to lay stress here on the particular features of the assemblies by
tribes which made them fitter organs of government than the more
cumbrous Comitia Centuriata, viz. the local associations among the
members, which made previous informal deliberation possible, and
rendered the members more accessible to the influence of leading men. It
was mainly perhaps the desire to transfer this local influence into the
Comitia Centuriata which caused the reform of that assembly in 534 A.U.C. (See COMITIA
CENTURIATA, and Mommsen, Staatsr.
iii. p. 271
ff.) The tribes, as we have seen, had always been the bases of the
census, but hitherto the members of each tribe had been equally
distributed among all the centuriae, so that each century was in theory
composed of an equal number from each tribe; and so, the tributes
being scattered, local associations had
no means of finding expression. What the reform did was briefly to
combine the tribal with the centurial arrangement (Liv. 1.13
). Each tribe was divided into seniores
of these divisions again into five centuries, corresponding with the
five property classes. Each century therefore consisted entirely of
members of the same tribe, and was in fact, as Cicero says (pro
20, 49), “unius tribus pars:” and as the
70 centuries of the first class, or possibly the 35 centuriae iuniorum,
drew lots for the privilege of voting first, we get such descriptions as
“praerogativa Aniensis iuniorum” (Liv. 24.7
), “praerogativa Veturia iuniorum”
, &c., and cf. Liv. 1.43
; App. BC
; Dionys. A. R. 4.21
who describes the change as of democratic tendency).
Relation of Tributes to one another.
--The tribes being
originally local districts, the majority of their members were
neighbours (Cic. pro Sext.
, 47), and were moreover constantly brought
together for the various purposes for which the tribes were employed,
and from this cause the connexion between them was naturally a somewhat
close one. So in Ter. Adelph.
3.3, 85, a tribulis
is “homo amicus nobis, iam inde a
puero.” Cicero (Cic. Fam. 13
) speaks of Caninius as
“amicus et tribulis tuus.” Sometimes this esprit de corps
showed itself in a traditional
jealousy of some other tribe, as in the case of Papiria and Pollia
), but more usually in the
active support which contributes
another (1) in ordinary life, (2) in elections. As to (1) we find a
victim of Sejanus appealing for help to his contribules,
“si semper apparui vobis bonus et utilis tribulis,”
&c. (Wilm. 1699). On the relation between tribules
with regard to elections and canvassing, Cicero
throws much light in the pro Plancio
(16-18), while the fact that Vatinius failed to secure the vote of his
own tribe Sergia is mentioned as an exceptional disgrace to him
15, 37; cf. also pro Mur.
69), So again candidates give banquets tributim
(Cic. de pet.
, 44) and spectacula
34, 72); while Suetonius
says of Augustus, “Fabianis et Scaptiensibus tribulibus suis die
comitiorum, ne quid a quoquam candidato desiderarent, singulis milia
nummum a se dividebat” (Aug.
passages show that, even after the Social war, a certain bond between
the members of a tribe remained, and of course in earlier times it was
still stronger. When we remember that the tribes were constantly coming
together to elect their own officers (Orelli, 3094), or judices for the
extraordinary courts according to the Lex Plautia (Ascon. in
p. 79), or the centumviri (Fest. p. 54), or to
celebrate supplicationes, &c., decreed by the senate (Liv. 7.28
), it is easy to understand how well
adapted the Comitia tributa might easily be made, by virtue of all these
local associations and sympathies in the hands of skilful leaders, for
carrying out a democratic or anti-senatorial policy.
--That there was a certain
definite order of tribes, we know from several passages; although what
the order was, we are very imperfectly informed, and are unable to say
on what it depended. It was properly applied to decide the order of
voting in the Comitia tributa. In this order the four urban tribes came
first, arranged as follows: Suburana, Palatina, Esquilina, Collina
(Varr. 5.56; Fest. p. 368). This, as we have seen, was originally an
order of rank; and that it was retained till the time of Cicero, we may
infer from de Leg. Agr.
2.29, 79, “a Suburana usque
ad Arniensem nomina vestra proponat.” Under the Empire, this
was to a certain extent changed, and Palatina and Collina appear to rank
above the rest, while the order in connexion with the corn-distribution
is Palatina, Suburana, Esquilina, Collina (C. I. L.
6.10211). Of the rustic tribes we only know for certain that Romulia
came first (Cic. l.c.;
C. I. L.
6.10211), while Voltinia was probably second (it
is so in the inscription referred to), and Arniensis was the last (Cic.
The Tribes under the Empire.
--Under the Empire, or at
least since 15 A.D., the administrative and
political importance of the tribes disappears (Tac. Ann. 1.15
). From this time in the provinces and in
Italy, membership in the tribe was merely the formal mark of Roman
citizenship. In the city itself the tribes still had a purpose, but it
was neither political nor administrative. Even in republican times the
tribes had usually been made the vehicle by which presents of money or
corn were given to the citizens either by the state or by individuals
(Ascon. in Mil.
p. 36; Appian, App. BC 2.143
; Cic. Att. 1.1.
, &c.). This now
became their chief and indeed their only function. How frequent and how
extravagant the largesses and congiaria
given under the Empire were, is sufficiently well known (see Marquardt,
ii. pp. 114 ff.); but what is important to
remember here is that these presents were limited to the citizens
resident in the capital. This is expressly stated in some cases (cf.
App. BC 2.147
), and is implied in
a great many [p. 2.886]
more (Suet. Jul. 83,
, &c.), while the phrase plebs urbana
used in this connexion is another proof, if
proof were needed (cf. Mon. Ancyr.
“trecentis et viginti milibus plebis urbanae sexagenos
denarios viritim dedi” ). These money presents, as we know,
were given tributim.
So Appian (3.23) says
that the legacy of Julius Caesar was given by Augustus to the curatores
tribuum, while a comparison between Tac. Ann.
and Suet. Aug. 101
Tac. Ann. 12.31
, shows that money
was given to the tribes (cf.
also Mart. 8.15
). But while the congiaria,
however frequent, were of irregular occurrence, there was another means
of relieving the wants of the urban population, which was regular, and
indeed of monthly occurrence, viz. frumentationes
or grants of corn, either gratis
or at rates lower than the market price, and it
was in connexion with these regular liberalitates
that the tribes gained a new meaning and a new
organisation [see FRUMENTATIO
]. That, like the money-gifts, they were limited to
the city, is abundantly attested. Thus, in the Mon. Ancyr.
“plebs urbana” is synonymous with “plebs quae
frumentum publicum accipiebat;” an inscription (C. I.
6.943) speaks of “plebs urbana quae frumentum
publicum accipit.” (See also App. 2.120, &c.)
Probably in theory they could be claimed by every citizen resident at
Rome (Sen. de Benef.
4, 28); and the libertini, limited
almost entirely, as we have seen, to the urban tribes, were certainly
not excluded (Dionys. A. R. 4.24
Probably, however, de facto,
(Mommsen thinks from Dig. 32
, that it was
also de iure
), members of the senatorial
and equestrian orders were not included in the list of recipients. This
seems to follow as well from the phrase “plebs urbana,” as
from the passages where the tribes are distinguished from the more
illustrious classes (cf. Stat. Silv.
; D. C. 61.7
, &c.). There seems also to have been a
maximum number fixed from time to time (Trajan, e.g.,
raised it: Plin. Panegyr.
51, and cf.
C. I. L.
6.955), as a check upon the claims of those
who were not really entitled to receive the corn (cf. Suet. Jul. 41
; Dio Cass. Iviii. 10; Suet. Aug. 40
), and each recipient was
furnished with a ticket (tessera
). The recipients of corn then being the members of
the thirty-five tribes resident in Rome, and the monthly distribution
being in accordance with old custom arranged tributim,
unnaturally formed themselves into corporations analogous to the
collegia of which so much is heard under the Empire (cf. Wilm. 679 and
888, “plebs urbana xxxv tribuum,” and 1700, “plebs
urbana quae frumentum publicum accipit et tribus [xxxv];”
also Dig. 32
While the corn seems to have been given out at the Porticus Minucia
(Apul. de Mund.
35), there were probably granaries for
each tribe (cf. Orelli, 3214, “horrearius plebis et tribus
Palatinae,” and Tac. Ann.
); and it is possible that the corn for a whole tribe was
received from the curator annonae at the Porticus Minucia, and then
taken to the tribal granary for distribution among the tribules.
The tribes in this narrower sense
differed from the other collegia apparently only in their origin and in
the greater number of their members. That there was no common chest is
due to the fact that the common store of corn took its place, but we
find the seniores
into which the tribes were still divided, entitled
“corpora” (Wilm. 1703-1736 C. L. L.
6.198, &c.), while they have the officials usual in a collegium,
scribae and viatores (C. I. L.
(Wilm. 1705), accensi (Orelli, 3062), honorati and immunes (Orelli,
3062, 3096): they had common burial-places (C. I. L.
6.10214), and were occasionally remembered in the testament of a rich
tribulis (Wilm. 1705). As this organisation was confined to the plebs
urbana, the four urban tribes were naturally by far the most numerously
represented, and extant inscriptions relate principally to them, and
especially to Palatina and Suburana. But all the tribes shared in the
organisation, as is shown generally by the phrase “plebs urbana
xxxv tribuum,” while in particular Romulia and Voltinia
(C. I. L.
6.10211), Claudia (Orelli, 3062), Oufentina
(Wilm. 1709), and Velina (Pers. 5.73) are specially mentioned in this
connexion. An inscription unfortunately incomplete gives us some idea of
the proportion of members in the urban and rustic tribes (C. I.
6.10211). In Palatina. the number of tribules
(whether of permanent members, or, as is more
probable, of members, newly admitted within a certain period) is 4191,
in Suburana 4068, in Esquilina 1777, in, Collina 457, in Romulia 68, and
in Voltinia 85. In the course of time, though it was probably not
originally contemplated, it became possible even for non--citizens to
buy the tessera frumentaria,
and so a place
in the tribe (cf. Juv. 7.171
), and in this
way “tesseram emere” (Dig. 5
) and “tribum
emere” (Dig. 32
) came to be convertible terms;
and the custom of thus buying a place in a tribe became widely spread,
and was frequently resorted to by the rich as a convenient way of
providing for old servants and retainers (cf. Dig.
). So, far indeed was this carried
that we find a boy of 18 years old having a place in the Esquilina
seniorum (Orelli, 3093). Whether membership in a tribe was in these
cases bought from individual members, or, as is more probable, from the
tribe itself as a corporation, cannot be decided with certainty. A
theory put forward by Mommsen in his early monograph on the Roman
tribes, though he has since given it up, deserves to be mentioned as not
improbable, though perhaps not capable of proof. The corn was at first
given, he supposes, not gratis, but at a moderate price, and practically
all bonafide citizens resident in the city participated in the
privilege. Gradually, however, within this larger body, a certain number
of the poorer citizens received their corn free by means perhaps of
(Suet. Aug. 41
), and it was this smaller
number of persons who became organised in close corporations which in
the course of time appropriated the names of the tribes. On this theory
the numbers mentioned in the inscription above referred to would be
those of the free recipients, not of the tribesmen generally.
Hirschfeld, on the other hand (Philologus,
xxix.), denies that either the congiaria or
were given by means of
the tribes at all.
--Mommsen, Die römischen
&c., Altona, 1844;
iii. pp. 95 ff., 161 ff., 434 ff., and 779
ff.;--Huschke, Die Verfassung des Königs Servius
Grotefend, Imperium Romanum
1863; Kubitschek, de origine et propagatione Tribuum;
Id. Imperium Romanum tributim discriptum,
1889;--Beloch, Der italische Bund; Hermes,
xxii. p. 100