8. The cause of Cornelius, O judges, arises from the law which Lucius Gellius and Cnaeus Cornelius passed in accordance with the resolution of the senate. By that law we see that it is provided that those men shall be Roman citizens whom Cnaeus Pompeius shall separately present with the freedom of the city in accordance with the opinion of his council. Pompeius here in court asserts that Lucius Cornelius was so presented with it. The public records prove this to be the fact: the prosecutor admits it. But he says that no man of a people joined to us by treaty was capable by law of becoming one of our citizens, unless his own people ratified the measure.  Oh what a splendid interpreter of the law! what a fine authority on points of antiquity! what an admirable corrector and reformer of our state, to imagine that treaties impose such a penalty on those who are bound by them, as to make them all incapable of receiving our rewards and kindnesses! For what can possibly be said more ignorant than that it is requisite for the federate cities to ratify such a transaction? For that is not a right peculiar to federate cities, but to all free nations. But the whole of this, O judges, has at all times depended on this consideration, and on this intention,—that when the Roman people had ordered anything, if the allied peoples and the Latins had adopted and ratified it, and if the law which we had among ourselves was in this manner established among some people on a firm footing, then that people should be bound by the obligations of that law; not in such a manner as to detract in the least from our privileges, but that those nations might enjoy either that law which was established among us, or some other advantage and benefit.  Caius Furius, in the time of our ancestors, passed a law concerning wills Quintus Voconius passed another concerning the inheritances of women; innumerable other laws have been passed about civil law; the Latins have adopted whatever of them they have chosen; even by the Julian law itself, by which the rights of citizenship were given to the allies and to the Latins, it was decreed that those people who did not ratify the law should not have the freedom of the city, which circumstance gave rise to a great contention among the people of Heraclea, and among the people of Neapolis,1 as a great part of the population in those states preferred the liberty which they enjoyed by virtue of their treaty with us to the rights of citizenship. Lastly, this is the meaning both of that law and of that expression, that the peoples who do ratify it enjoy its advantages owing to our kindness, and not owing to any right of their own.  When the Roman people has enacted anything, if it be a matter of that sort, that it appears it may be granted also to some other nations, whether joined to us by a treaty, or free to decide themselves which law they prefer using, not about our affairs, but about their own; then it seems necessary to inquire whether they have adopted and ratified our law, or not; but the senate never intended that those peoples should have the power of ratifying or declining to ratify measures which concern our republic, our empire our wars, our victory, and our safety.2
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF LUCIUS CORNELIUS BALBUS.
2 In the seventh century of Rome, the terms foederatae civitates, foederati socii expressed those Italian states which were connected with Rome by a treaty. These names did not include Roman colonies or Latin colonies, or any place which had obtained the Roman civitas, or right of citizenship. They were independent states, yet under a general liability to furnish a contingent to the Roman army. It was the discontent among the foederati and their claim to be admitted to the privileges of Roman citizen, that led to the Social war.The Julia Lex mentioned in the text, gave the civitas to the Socii and Latini. It was passed B.C. 90. The expression fundus fio occurs frequently in the text here, for this lex Julia, and another law passed the next year contained a condition that the federate states should consent to accept what the lex offered or, as it was technically expressed, populus fundus fieret. Those who did not become fundi populi did not obtain the civitas. There were a few foederatae civitates out of Italy, of which, as we see, Gades was one. Massilia (Marseilles) and Saguntum (Murviedro) were so too. Vide Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 427, v. foederatae civitates. In which article Professor Long says, with reference to this cause, “It was objected to Balbus that he could not have the civitas, unless the state to which he belonged fundes factus esset, which was a complete misapprehension; for the term fundus in this sense applied to the whole state or community, whether federate or other free state, which accepted what was offered, and not to an individual of such state or community, who might accept the Roman civitas without asking the consent of his fellow-citizens at home, or without all of them receiving the same privilege that was offered to himself.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.