4. L. Cassius
Longinus Raviila, Q. F. L. N., second son of No. 2, received his agnomen of Ravilla from his ravi oculi.
(Festus, s. v. Ravi.
) He was tribune of the plebs, B. C. 137, and proposed the second law for voting by ballot (tabellaria lex
), the first having been brought forward by Gabinius two years before, B. C. 139.
The law of Cassius introduced the ballot in the "Judicium Populi," by which we must understand criminal cases tried in the comitia by the whole body of the people; but cases of perduellio were excepted from the operation of the law.
This law gave great dissatisfaction to the optimates, as it deprived them of much of their influence in the comitia. (Cic. de Leg.
25, pro Sext.
48; Ascon. in Corn.
p. 78, ed. Orelli.)
It is commemorated on many coins of the Cassia gens, a specimen of which is given below.
Longinus was consul B. C. 127, with L. Cornelius Cinna, and censor B. C. 125, with Cn. Servilius Caepio. (Cic. Ver. 1.55
.) Their censorship was celebrated for its severity, of which an instance is related in the condemnation of M. Lepidus Porcina. [LEPIDUS, No. 10.] Longinus had the character of great severity as a judex, whence his tribunal was called the scopulus reorum
(V. Max. 3.7.9
); but he was at the same time looked up to as a man of great integrity and justice.
It is related of him that in all criminal trials he was accustomed to ask, before every thing else, with what object (cui bono
) a crime had been committed.
It was in consequence of this reputation for justice and severity that he was appointed by the people in B. C. 113 to investigate certain cases of incest, because the pontiffs were thought to have improperly acquitted two of the vestal virgins, Licinia and Marcia, while they condemned one, Aemilia. Longinus condemned not only Licinia and Marcia, but also several other persons; but the extreme severity with which he acted on this occasion was generally reprobated by public opinion. [LICINIA, No. 2.1 (Cic. pro S. Rosc.
30; Ascon. in Milon.
12, p. 46, ed. Orelli; Dion Cas. Fr.
92; Oros. 5.15
; Liv. Epit. 63
; Obsequ. 97; Plut. Quest. Rom.
Ernesti (Clavis Cic.
) and Orelli (Onom. Tull.
) regard the tribune of B. C. 137, who proposed the tabellaria lex, as the father of the consul of B. C. 127, and of the censor of B. C. 125.
It is, however, very improbable that a tribune of the plebs should be the father of a person who was consul ten years afterwards; and their identity is strongly supported by the character which Cicero (Cic. Brut. 25
) gives of the tribune, which is quite in accordance with the well-known severity of the judex and the censor.