Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

ARISTOCRACY.                                       31
from them in 415 U. C,, by a law of the plebeian dictator
Q. Publilius Philo, if that be the meaning of Livy's words
(viiL, 12), " ut legum quac coniitiis centuriatis ferrcntur ante
Jnttum suffragium patres auctorcs ficrent," t. *., that the
senate should give its recommendation and sanction before
the suffrages were cast, whatever the future law was to be,
which would thus be a formal sanction, necessary simply on
account of an old custom. The other laws of this same dic-
tator, who, it is worth mentioning, acted in conjunction with
a patrician colleague disaffected towards his own order, were
that plebiscita should be binding on all citizens, and that
whenever the law should allow both censors to be plebeians,
one at least should be taken from that order. The first of
these laws took away its political significance from the comi-
tia of the curia;, and from the senate its power of obstructing
the legislation in the assembly of the whole people.
At the time of the Licinian laws an officer was appointed
who bore the name of pnvtor, by which the consuls were
designated at an early period, and who was intended to per-
form most of the judicial functions which had devolved on
them, and perhaps on an assisting officer. The motive of
the patricians in separating the judicial functions from the
consulate may have been to keep at least this portion of the
consul's duties in the possession of their order ; but in 417
U. C,, the same Publilius Philo of whom we have spoken was
made the first plebeian pnetor, much to the dissatisfaction
of the patricians, but with no great opposition on their part.
(Livy, viii., 15).
No civil office was now beyond the reach of the plebeians,
for the dictatorship of C, Marcius Rutilus, the first dictator
from that older in 398 U. c., eleven years after the passage
of the Licmian-Sextian laws, was either sanctioned by some
unknown law, or followed the precedent of the consulate with-
out opposition. But all the public priests were still patricians,
except the ditowri> afterwards decemviri^ sacris faeivndis,
who by a rogation of 387 u. c*—cither the same which opened
the consulate or another (Comp, Livy, vl, 37 and 4$)