| The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen|
| Etext Book II Chapter 7|
Aristocratic Remodelling Of The Constitutions Of The Italian Communities
It was but a wider application of the same expedient, when in each dependent community the constitution was remodelled after the Roman pattern and a government of the wealthy and respectable families was installed, which was naturally more or less keenly opposed to the multitude and was induced by its material interests and by its wish for local power to lean on Roman support. The most remarkable instance of this sort is furnished by the treatment of Capua, which appears to have been from the first treated with suspicious precaution as the only Italian city that could come into possible rivalry with Rome. The Campanian nobility received a privileged jurisdiction, separate places of assembly, and in every respect a distinctive position; indeed they even obtained not inconsiderable pensions -- sixteen hundred of them at 450 -stateres- (about 30 pounds) annually -- charged on the Campanian exchequer. It was these Campanian equites, whose refusal to take part in the great Latino-Campanian insurrection of 414 mainly contributed to its failure, and whose brave swords decided the day in favour of the Romans at Sentinum in 459;(40) whereas the Campanian infantry at Rhegium was the first body of troops that in the war with Pyrrhus revolted from Rome.(41) Another remarkable instance of the Roman practice of turning to account for their own interest the variances between the orders in the dependent communities by favouring the aristocracy, is furnished by the treatment which Volsinii met with in 489. There, just as in Rome, the old and new burgesses must have stood opposed to one another, and the latter must have attained by legal means equality of political rights. In consequence of this the old burgesses of Volsinii resorted to the Roman senate with a request for the restoration of their old constitution -- a step which the ruling party in the city naturally viewed as high treason, and inflicted legal punishment accordingly on the petitioners. The Roman senate, however, took part with the old burgesses, and, when the city showed no disposition to submit, not only destroyed by military violence the communal constitution of Volsinii which was In recognized operation, but also, by razing the old capital of Etruria, exhibited to the Italians a fearfully palpable proof of the mastery of Rome.