Livy, History of Rome 2

LCL 114: 220-221

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a.u.c. 245ut bonam frugem libertatis maturis iam viribus ferre 7possent. Libertatis autem originem inde magis quia annuum imperium consulare factum est quam quod deminutum quicquam sit ex regia potestate, numeres. 8Omnia iura, omnia insignia primi consules tenuere; id modo cautum est ne, si ambo fasces haberent, duplicatus terror videretur. Brutus prior concedente collega fasces habuit; qui non acrior vindex libertatis 9fuerat quam deinde custos fuit. Omnium primum avidum novae libertatis populum, ne postmodum flecti precibus aut donis regiis posset, iure iurando 10adegit neminem Romae passuros regnare. Deinde, quo plus virium in senatu frequentia etiam ordinis faceret, caedibus regis deminutum patrum numerum primoribus equestris gradus lectis ad trecentorum 11summam explevit; traditumque inde fertur ut in senatum vocarentur qui patres quique conscripti essent: conscriptos, videlicet novum senatum, appellabant lectos. Id mirum quantum profuit ad concordiam civitatis iungendosque patribus plebis animos.

II. Rerum deinde divinarum habita cura; et quia quaedam publica sacra per ipsos reges factitata erant,


where its ripened powers enabled it to bear good b.c. 509fruit of liberty. Moreover you may reckon the beginning of liberty as proceeding rather from the limitation of the consuls’ authority to a year than from any diminution of their power compared with that which the kings had exercised. All the rights of the kings and all their insignia were possessed by the earliest consuls; only one thing was guarded against—that the terror they inspired should not be doubled by permitting both to have the rods. Brutus was the first to have them, with his colleague’s consent, and he proved as determined in guarding liberty as he had been in asserting it. To begin with, when the people were still jealous of their new freedom, he obliged them to swear an oath that they would suffer no man to be king in Rome, lest they might later be turned from their purpose by the entreaties or the gifts of princes. In the next place, that the strength of the senate might receive an added augmentation from the numbers of that order, he filled up the list of the Fathers, which had been abridged by the late king’s butcheries, drawing upon the foremost men of equestrian rank until he had brought the total up to three hundred. From that time, it is said, was handed down the custom of summoning to the senate the Fathers and the Enrolled, the latter being the designation of the new senators, who were appointed.1 This measure was wonderfully effective in promoting harmony in the state and attaching the plebs to the Fathers.2

II. Matters of worship then received attention. Certain public sacrifices had habitually been performed by the kings in person, and that their

  • 1Later any senator might be called pater conscriptus, and it is possible that Livy and Festus (p. 254 m) were misled in supposing that originally the patres were one class of senators and the conscripti another. See Conway’s note.
  • 2Livy appears to have assumed that the new senators were plebeians, but this is almost certainly wrong. The first definite notice of a plebeian senator occurs at v. xii. 11 (400 b.c. ).
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.livy-history_rome_2.1919