Such were the laws under which burgesses and clients lived in Rome.
Between these two classes, so far as we can see, there subsisted from
the beginning complete equality of private rights. The foreigner
on the other hand, if he had not submitted to a Roman patron and thus
lived as a client, was beyond the pale of the law both in person
and in property.
Whatever the Roman burgess took from him was
as rightfully acquired as was the shellfish, belonging to nobody,
which was picked up by the sea-shore; but in the case of ground
lying beyond the Roman bounds, while the Roman burgess might take
practical possession, he could not be regarded as in a legal sense
its proprietor; for the individual burgess was not entitled to
advance the bounds of the community.
The case was different in
war: whatever the soldier who was fighting in the ranks of the levy
gained, whether moveable or immoveable property, fell not to him,
but to the state, and accordingly here too it depended upon the
state whether it would advance or contract its bounds.