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Latins and the Roman Citizenship in Roman Colonies: Livy, 34, 42, 5-6 Author(s): R. E.

Smith Source: The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 44 (1954), pp. 18-20 Published by: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies Stable URL: Accessed: 17/11/2010 04:18
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LIVY, 34, 42, 5-6
By R. E. SMITH 1

The meaning and implication of this passage of Livy have been so generally misunderstood,2 that it is worth translating and explaining it; for its true meaning is important both in itself and, perhaps, for understanding one aspect of Roman colonial policy between 190 and I80 B.C. The passage runs as follows ' nouum ius eo anno a Ferentinatibus tentatum, ut Latini qui in coloniam Romanam nomina dedissent ciues Romani essent. Puteoleos Salernumque et Buxentum ascripti coloni qui nomina dederant et 3 cum ob id se pro ciuibus Romanis ferrent, senatus iudicauit non esse eos ciues Romanos.' ' A new 4 right was claimed in this year by some Ferentinates,5 namely that Latins who had given in their names for a Roman colony were Roman citizens. Some colonists who had given in their names had been enrolled for Puteoli, Salernum, and Buxentum, and when by reason of having given in their names they began to conduct themselves as though they were Roman citizens, the Senate ruled that they were not citizens.' 6 From Mommsen onwards scholars 7 have interpreted the passage to mean that Latins who joined a Roman colony did not receive Roman citizenship ; and this ruling, given at this moment, is then regarded either as one of the signs of increasing Roman harshness towards the Italians, or it is explained away as a strange decision not typical of Rome's conduct at this time. To appreciate the true meaning of the passage, we must understand the situation at this moment, I95 B.C.: it had been decided to send these colonies in I97 B.C.,8 and the colonists moved out in I94 B.C. ; 9 in other words, the colonists' claim to citizenship was put forward a year before the colony was in fact settled. Their claim, according to Livy, was this: that the handing in of one's name for a citizen colony was sufficient to give the citizenship; some colonists, who had given in their names and been enrolled for certain colonies, on the strength of this (ob id) 10 began conducting themselves as though they were citizens ; whereupon the Senate ruled that they were not (at that moment) citizens. The handing in of one's name was the first step, legally necessary, to admission to a colony, without which a person could not be enrolled as a member; 11 but this operation obviously took place before the colony was founded (in this case up to three years before), and did not confer citizenship, either Latin or Roman; it merely enabled a person to be admitted to the colony. The citizenship, whether Latin or Roman, came with the first census of the newly-founded colony, when the name was officially enrolled on the census
' I am indebted to Professor Sir Frank Adcock and Dr. A. H. McDonald for valuable criticism and suggestions, and to Professor D. Daube for what is said in n. 15. 2 Mommsen, R. Staatsrecht 23, 636 and n. 3 3, 622 and n. 2; Kornemann in P-W s.v. 'Coloniae', colls. 57I-2 ; Carcopino, Histoire romaine, 2, I4I; Salmon, JRS 26, I936, 63 f.; Sherwin White, The Roman Citizenship, 92 (he omits, both in the quotation and in the translation, the critical relative clause ' qui . . . dedissent') ; Scullard, Roman Politics, 220-I 50 B.C., I69 and n. 2; Gohler, Rom und Italien, 62-3. 3 Dr. A. H. McDonald informs me that the ' et' should, on the authority of the Codex Bambergensis, be retained. 4 ' Nouum' in Latin not infrequently carries a flavour of pained surprise, as at something untraditional; but I have preferred to translate it by 'new' rather than by ' novel ', lest I should seem to be prejudging the point at issue. 5 See below, n. i6. 6 I have translated both ' ciues Romani essent'

and' esse ciues Romanos ' by the indicative, because I believe that the colonists were asserting a claim which the Senate disallowed. It would not make any difference to the thesis of this article if they were both translated by the subjunctive, though I think it would be a wrorg translation. Except De Sanctis; see below, n. I7. 8 Livy 32, 29, 3-4.

Livy 34, 45,


10 The second sentence of the Latin could mean either (a) that of those 'qui nomina dederant' those who had been enrolled in a colony made the claim, i.e. that there were more names handed in than places, or (b) that of those enrolled in the colonies only those who had handed in their names made the claim, i.e. that some went under compulsion. (b) is impossible, since no one could be enrolled who had not handed in his name (Cicero, De Domo sua, 78). The first alternative is possible ; but I believe that Livy has merely added the relative clause to emphasize the key expression, ' nomen dare,' which was the basis of the claim. "1- See above, n. io; Daube, JRS 36, I946, 69.



rolls of the community; just as a Roman who joined a Latin colony strictly remained a Roman until the first census of the colony, so did a Latin only become a Roman citizen in a Roman colony on the same condition.12 The Latin colonists in the present context were therefore anticipating their Roman citizenship, and attempting to institute a new constitutional precedent (herein lay the nouum ius) by claiming that not the census but the handing in of one's name should confer the citizenship; the Senate merely insisted that it could not be obtained on the strength of giving in one's name. Nor need we be surprised at the Senate's ruling, for the precedent, had it been allowed, would have been highly dangerous; it would have opened the way to obtaining the citizenship by fraud, by the simple process, namely, of handing in one's name for a Roman colony by a person who had no intention of proceeding to the colony; if ' nomen dare' were sufficient, nothing could prevent this development. This would have been a particularly unfortunate precedent 13 when the Latin cities were beginning to feel their loss of citizens to Rome; 14 while to the Senate a list of colonists who had no intention of proceeding to a colony would have been useless. True, in the present case all the claimants had been enrolled for particular colonies and probably had every intention of proceeding to them; 15 but a serious legal precedent would have been created.16 We may, I think, go further. The novelty of the ' ius ' that the colonists claimed lay, according to this interpretation in anticipating what would have been theirs at the moment Of the first census of the colonies; and the fact that they were prepared to make this claim suggests very strongly that the normal' ius ' (i.e. becoming citizens at the first census) was clearly established and not in dispute. And this normal ' ius ' was, in fact, part of the ' ius migrationis ', which allowed Latins to settle in Rome and thus become Roman citizens; this right operated equally in a Roman colony (if they were admitted), which from this point of view was merely an extension of Rome; 17 it is to be noticed that while Latins were from time to time admitted to Roman colonies, Italians were so only exceptionally;
12 For the whole of this argument see Daube, .c., 68 ff.; and for the idea that the appearance of a name on the census-roll was the title to the citizenship, see also Last, YRS 35, 1945, 36 if. I have nothing to add to Daube's argument on the important point here involved, except to say that this passage of Livy confirms what he there says. 13 Apart from the deliberate abuse of the precedent, there would be some bonafide persons who were unable through sickness or death to proceed to the colony; yet they or their family would under this ruline none the less be citizens. 14 The Latin cities first asked for the return of their citizens in 187 B.C., Livy 39, 3, 4-6 ; a second request was answered by a second senatorial decree in 177 B.C., Livy 41, 8, 6-I2 ; 42, 10, 3. 15 I suppose that the process of ' ascriptio' consisted, in this case, of dividing the names handed in among the different colonies; very probably these lists would be publicly exhibited, and we need not doubt the sincerity of those who had been thus ' assigned'. Professor Daube has written to me on this point as follows: ' One small matter of interest is that apparently ' ascribi' has several senses. It signifies primarily' to be enrolled'. But since in the vast majority of cases one who is enrolled for a colony subsequently becomes a member-namely, by his inclusion in the first census-the verb is often used as denoting " to become a member ". However, there are cases, of which Livy 34, 42, 6, is one, where we must be careful to take it in the stricter, primary, sense. In this passage those enrolled have not yet become members. They have given in their names, they have been enrolled, but they have not yet gone out, and still less have they been admitted by a census. Support for this view is furnished by Festus, De Verb. Sig. p. 13. Here " adscripti " is defined as " qui nomina dedissent ut coloni essent '. This

definition leans almost too far in the other direction ; at first sight it makes " ascribi " synonymous with " nomen dare ". It would have been more exact to say that the term means " to give in one's name and have it accepted ". But the latter is, of course, implicitly assumed by Festus. In any case his testimony proves that one may be an " ascriptus' before being a member: the" ascripti ", he explains, have handed in their names "ut essent coloni ' 16 ' A Ferentinatibus' should possibly be translated by ' the community of Ferentinum' ; but in a formal notice of this kind we need not necessarily expect' quibusdam'. Livy may have mentioned the place of origin to show that the claimants were Latins ; but if the phrase means ' the community of Ferentinum', then it would suggest that the local authorities took up the case on behalf of their individual citizens, who were anxious to test the claim. This in its turn would suggest that the local authorities did not object to their citizens joining Roman colonies, and that the crisis caused by the loss of citizens (see above, n. 14) had not yet arisen; it was perhaps slow in developing. In 193 B.C. the levy was made according to the proportion of ' iuniores' in each Latin city (Livy 34, 56, 5-6), and this may have been a first attempt to readjust relations ; the claim to citizenship by the Ferentinates in this passage may have been another. But the crisis developed too quickly, and the attempts at readjustment were abandoned. 17 De Sanctis alone, Storia dei Romani, 4, 1, 562, has seen this very important point, and in his interpretation of the passage of Livy he has made clear this general problem ; but he failed to see wherein lay the novelty of the claim, and hence he has missed the point of the passage and wrongly interpreted its historical significance.



and if Latins were admitted, then they automatically became Roman citizens at the first census. This right has nothing to do with the permission given to some founders of colonies to make one or more persons Roman citizens in a Roman or Latin colony, which Mommsen and Kornemann 18 connect with this passage to show that Latins did not normally become Roman citizens in a Roman colony; the only case, that of Ennius,19 quoted by both scholars, is irrelevant, since Ennius was not a Latin; and the colonies projected under the Lex Appuleia of 100 B.C. were, as Last rightly saw,20 Latin, not Roman, colonies. The permission which the ' lex ' gave in these cases was to bestow citizenship on those who would not otherwise be entitled to it, i.e. Italians in a Roman colony,21 Italians and Latins in a Latin colony.22 The Senate, then, so far from adopting an exclusive attitude towards the Latins, was merely guarding against a bad legal precedent; the rights of the Latins remained unimpaired.23 And once this right is appreciated and this passage of Livy seen in its right perspective, it may possibly throw an interesting light on the Senate's colonial policy at this time. Parma and Mutina were both citizen colonies and both received 2,000 colonists; Livy tells us that there was considerable discussion as to whether Aquileia (which also received 2,000 colonists) should be Latin or Roman, though in this case it was eventually decided to make it Latin.24 Citizen colonies of such a size represented a change from the traditional policy of making Roman only those colonies which were established purely for purposes of defence, in places where they could not hope to develop into thriving municipalities.25 Salmon explains the change as due to Rome's reluctance to lose its citizens to Latin colonies,26 because they could not afford the drain on their manpower; and such may very probably have played a part in their calculations; but we may wonder why, if such be the whole explanation, the Senate resolved to make Aquileia Latin. We know that at this time Rome was prepared to be very tolerant about admitting Latins to citizenship by virtue of the ius migrationis, to such an extent that the Latin cities twice asked the Senate to return their citizens to them, to prevent the depopulation of their cities.27 I suggest that the Senate in making these large Roman colonies may have had it in mind to allow Latins to acquire the citizenship by this means ; 28 that the reason for the discussion over the status of Aquileia may well have been further remonstrance from the Latin cities, to which the Senate in the end deferred; and that so far from the Senate being harsh or exclusive towards the Latins, they were ready to be more generous to them than the governors of the Latin cities liked ; 29 and that this incident in 195 B.C. shows both that Latins did gain the citizenship by joining citizen colonies, and had already seen a potential bye-way to that goal, which the Senate quickly barred.30
18 i.C.

19 Cicero, Bruttus,



CAH ix, I69. He has also appreciated the fact that Latins (and Italians) would become Roman citizens if admitted to a Roman colony ; see p. 8i, where he is discussing C. Gracchus' colony of Junonia. Eporedia, a colony founded in 100 B.C., was Roman (see U. Ewins BSRP, n.s. VII, 1952, 70), but, as the author points out, it cannot have been founded under the Lex Appuleia, and quite possibly represented an attempt of the Senate to provide a counter-attraction to the proposals of Saturninus. 21 If an Italian were admitted to a Roman colony, he would automatically become a Roman citizen by the operation of the census. The permission therefore consisted essentially in allowing an Italian to join such a colony; see next note. 22 Roman citizens also, since they became Latins in a Latin colonv. The action of Q. Fulvius in connexion with Ennius consisted really in allowing him to join a Roman colony; for, once admitted, he would automatically become a Roman citizen at the first census. He quite likely gave him citizenship first. 23 It is surprising that scholars should have

supposed that a Roman colony could be partly composed of non-Romans ; for the main purpose of such colonies was military, and colonists were excused from service in the legions (Livy 27, 38, 3 36, 3, 4-6; Mommsen, o.c., 33, 243, 775). But what would have been the position of Latins in such colonies ? Had they remained Latins, they would have been liable to service according to the requirements of their city, and hence might have been absent from the colony at a time of crisis. 2X Livy 39, 55, 5. 25 See Salmon, o.c. 26 o.c., 65 if.
27 28

See n.


Perhaps giving a chance to those Latins who had lost their citizenship of regaining it. 29 For a general and more favourable appraisal of senatorial policy during these years, see McDonald, Camb.Hist. your., 6, 1939, 124 ff.; YRS 34, 1944, II f. 30 There are several further implications to be drawn from this passage for Roman-Latin relations and colonial policy, which it is beyond the scope of this brief article to deal with.