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THE HISTORY OF OLD ROME

IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson


The History of Old Rome

Chapter VI - The Attempt of Marius at Revolution and the Attempt of Drusus at Reform

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Page 48

Discussions on the Livian Laws

The question at stake was the passing of the laws drawn up by Drusus. Of these the proposer, just like Gaius Gracchus, kept in reserve for the moment the hazardous project of conferring the Roman franchise on the Italian allies, and brought forward at first only the laws as to the jurymen, the assignation of land, and the distribution of grain. The capitalist party offered the most vehement resistance, and, in consequence of the irresolution of the greater part of the aristocracy and the vacillation of the comitia, would beyond question have carried the rejection of the law as to jurymen, if it had been put to the vote by itself.

Drusus accordingly embraced all his proposals in one law; and, as thus all the burgesses interested in the distributions of grain and land were compelled to vote also for the law as to jurymen, he succeeded in carrying the law with their help and that of the Italians, who stood firmly by Drusus with the exception of the large landowners, particularly those in Umbria and Etruria, whose domanial possessions were threatened. It was not carried, however, until Drusus had caused the consul Philippus, who would not desist from opposition, to be arrested and carried off to prison by a bailiff.

The people celebrated the tribune as their benefactor, and received him in the theatre by rising up and applauding; but the voting had not so much decided the struggle as transferred it to another ground, for the opposite party justly characterized the proposal of Drusus as contrary to the law of 656(14) and therefore as null.

14. Cf. IV. VI. Collision between the Senate and Equites in the Administration of the Provinces


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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/rome/4-06-marius-revolution-drusus-reform.asp?pg=48