Relation of Rome to Latium
The form of the Roman hegemony over Latium was, in general, that of an alliance on equal terms between the Roman community on the one hand and the Latin confederacy on the other, establishing a perpetual peace throughout the whole domain and a perpetual league for offence and defence. "There shall be peace between the Romans and all communities of the Latins, as long as heaven and earth endure; they shall not wage war with each other, nor call enemies into the land, nor grant passage to enemies: help shall be rendered by all in concert to any community assailed, and whatever is won in joint warfare shall be equally distributed." The stipulated equality of rights in trade and exchange, in commercial credit and in inheritance, tended, by the manifold relations of business intercourse to which it led, still further to interweave the interests of communities already connected by the ties of similar language and manners, and in this way produced an effect somewhat similar to that of the abolition of customs-restrictions in our own day. Each community certainly retained in form its own law: down to the time of the Social war Latin law was not necessarily identical with Roman: we find, for example, that the enforcing of betrothal by action at law, which was abolished at an early period in Rome, continued to subsist in the Latin communities. But the simple and purely national development of Latin law, and the endeavour to maintain as far as possible uniformity of rights, led at length to the result, that the law of private relations was in matter and form substantially the same throughout all Latium. This uniformity of rights comes most distinctly into view in the rules laid down regarding the loss and recovery of freedom on the part of the individual burgess. According to an ancient and venerable maxim of law among the Latin stock no burgess could become a slave in the state wherein he had been free, or suffer the loss of his burgess-rights while he remained within it: if he was to be punished with the loss of freedom and of burgess-rights (which was the same thing), it was necessary that he should be expelled from the state and should enter on the condition of slavery among strangers. This maxim of law was now extended to the whole territory of the league; no member of any of the federal states might live as a slave within the bounds of the league. Applications of this principle are seen in the enactment embodied in the Twelve Tables, that the insolvent debtor, in the event of his creditor wishing to sell him, must be sold beyond the boundary of the Tiber, in other words, beyond the territory of the league; and in the clause of the second treaty between Rome and Carthage, that an ally of Rome who might be taken prisoner by the Carthaginians should be free so soon as he entered a Roman seaport. Although there did not probably subsist a general intercommunion of marriage within the league, yet, as has been already remarked(8) intermarriage between the different communities frequently occurred. Each Latin could primarily exercise political rights only where he was enrolled as a burgess; but on the other hand it was implied in an equality of private rights, that any Latin could take up his abode in any place within the Latin bounds; or, to use the phraseology of the present day, there existed, side by side with the special burgess-rights of the individual communities, a general right of settlement co-extensive with the confederacy; and, after the plebeian was acknowledged in Rome as a burgess, this right became converted as regards Rome into full freedom of settlement. It is easy to understand how this should have turned materially to the advantage of the capital, which alone in Latium offered the means of urban intercourse, urban acquisition, and urban enjoyments; and how the number of -- metoeci -- in Rome should have increased with remarkable rapidity, after the Latin land came to live in perpetual peace with Rome.
In constitution and administration the several communities not only remained independent and sovereign, so far as the federal obligations did not interfere, but, what was of more importance, the league of the thirty communities as such retained its autonomy in contradistinction to Rome. When we are assured that the position of Alba towards the federal communities was a position superior to that of Rome, and that on the fall of Alba these communities attained autonomy, this may well have been the case, in so far as Alba was essentially a member of the league, while Rome from the first had rather the position of a separate state confronting the league than of a member included in it; but, just as the states of the confederation of the Rhine were formally sovereign, while those of the German empire had a master, the presidency of Alba may have been in reality an honorary right(9) like that of the German emperors, and the protectorate of Rome from the first a supremacy like that of Napoleon. In fact Alba appears to have exercised the right of presiding in the federal council, while Rome allowed the Latin deputies to hold their consultations by themselves under the guidance, as it appears, of a president selected from their own number, and contented herself with the honorary presidency at the federal festival where sacrifice was offered for Rome and Latium, and with the erection of a second federal sanctuary in Rome -- the temple of Diana on the Aventine -- so that thenceforth sacrifice was offered both on Roman soil for Rome and Latium, and on Latin soil for Latium and Rome. With equal deference to the interests of the league the Romans in the treaty with Latium bound themselves not to enter into a separate alliance with any Latin community -- a stipulation which very clearly reveals the apprehensions entertained, doubtless not without reason, by the confederacy with reference to the powerful community taking the lead. The position of Rome not within, but alongside of Latium, is most clearly apparent in the arrangements for warfare. The fighting force of the league was composed, as the later mode of making the levy incontrovertibly shows, of two masses of equal strength, a Roman and a Latin. The supreme command lay once for all with the Roman generals; year by year the Latin contingent had to appear before the gates of Rome, and there saluted the elected commander by acclamation as its general, after the Romans commissioned by the Latin federal council to take the auspices had thereby assured themselves of the contentment of the gods with the choice that had been made. Whatever land or property was acquired in the wars of the league was apportioned among its members according to the judgment of the Romans. That the Romano-Latin federation was represented as regards its external relations solely by Rome, cannot with certainty be maintained. The federal agreement did not prohibit either Rome or Latium from undertaking an aggressive war on their own behoof; and if a war was waged by the league, whether pursuant to a resolution of its own or in consequence of a hostile attack, the Latin federal council may have been legally entitled to take part in the conduct as well as in the termination of the war. Practically indeed Rome must have possessed the hegemony even then, for, wherever a single state and a federation enter into a permanent connection with each other, the preponderance usually falls to the side of the former.
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