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Quote of the day: That officer's wife, urged by a perverse
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 8: The Political Constitution.[753 BC]
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After the claims of religion had been duly acknowledged, Romulus called his people to a council. As nothing could unite them into one political body but the observance of common laws and customs, he gave them a body of laws, which he thought would only be respected by a rude and uncivilised race of men if he inspired them with awe by assuming the outward symbols of power. He surrounded himself with greater state, and in particular he called into his service twelve lictors. Some think that he fixed upon this number from the number of the birds who foretold his sovereignty; but I am inclined to agree with those who think that as this class of public officers was borrowed from the same people from whom the sella curulis and the toga praetexta were adopted -- their neighbours, the Etruscans -- so the number itself also was taken from them. Its use amongst the Etruscans is traced to the custom of the twelve sovereign cities of Etruria, when jointly electing a king furnishing him each with one lictor.

The Asylum.

Meantime the City was growing by the extension of its walls in various directions an increase due rather to the anticipation of its future population than to any present overcrowding. His next care was to secure an addition to the population that the size of the City might not be a source of weakness. It had been the ancient policy of the founders of cities to get together a multitude of people of obscure and low origin and then to spread the fiction that they were the children of the soil. In accordance with this policy, Romulus opened a place of refuge on the spot where, as you go down from the Capitol, you find an enclosed space between two groves. A promiscuous crowd of freemen and slaves, eager for change, fled thither from the neighbouring states. This was the first accession of strength to the nascent greatness of the city.

The Senate.

When he was satisfied as to its strength, his next step was to provide for that strength being wisely directed. He created a hundred senators; either, because that number was adequate, or because there were only a hundred heads of houses who could be created. In any case they were called the " Patres" in virtue of their rank, and their descendants were called patricians.

Rebus divinis rite perpetratis vocataque ad concilium multitudine quae coalescere in populi unius corpus nulla re praeterquam legibus poterat, iura dedit; quae ita sancta generi hominum agresti fore ratus, si se ipse venerabilem insignibus imperii fecisset, cum cetero habitu se augustiorem, tum maxime lictoribus duodecim sumptis fecit. Alii ab numero auium quae augurio regnum portenderant eum secutum numerum putant. me haud paenitet eorum sententiae esse quibus et apparitores hoc genus ab Etruscis finitimis, unde sella curulis, unde toga praetexta sumpta est, et numerum quoque ipsum ductum placet, et ita habuisse Etruscos quod ex duodecim populis communiter creato rege singulos singuli populi lictores dederint. Crescebat interim urbs munitionibus alia atque alia appetendo loca, cum in spem magis futurae multitudinis quam ad id quod tum hominum erat munirent. Deinde ne uana urbis magnitudo esset, adiciendae multitudinis causa vetere consilio condentium urbes, qui obscuram atque humilem conciendo ad se multitudinem natam e terra sibi prolem ementiebantur, locum qui nunc saeptus descendentibus inter duos lucos est asylum aperit. Eo ex finitimis populis turba omnis sine discrimine, liber an seruus esset, auida novarum rerum perfugit, idque primum ad coeptam magnitudinem roboris fuit. Cum iam virium haud paeniteret consilium deinde viribus parat. Centum creat senatores, sive quia is numerus satis erat, sive quia soli centum erant qui creari patres possent. Patres certe ab honore patriciique progenies eorum appellati.