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Augustus, Chapter 40: Further legislation.
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In the election of tribunes of the people, if there was not a sufficient number of senatorial candidates, he [Note 1] nominated others from the equestrian order; granting them the liberty, after the expiration of their office, to continue in whichsoever of the two orders they pleased. As most of the knights had been much reduced in their estates by the civil wars and therefore durst not sit to see the public games in the theatre in the seats allotted to their order, for fear of the penalty provided by the law in that case, he enacted, that none were liable to it, who had themselves, or whose parents had ever, possessed a knight's estate. He took the census of the Roman people street by street and that the people might not be too often taken from their business to receive the distribution of grain, it was his intention to deliver tickets three times a year for four months respectively; but at their request, he continued the former regulation, that they should receive their share monthly. He revived the former law of elections, endeavouring, by various penalties, to suppress the practice of bribery. Upon the day of election, he distributed to the freedmen of the Fabian and Scaptian tribes, in which he himself was enrolled, a thousand sesterces each, that they might look for nothing from any of the candidates. Considering it of extreme importance to preserve the Roman people pure, and untainted with a mixture of foreign or servile blood, he not only bestowed the freedom of the city with a sparing hand, but laid some restriction upon the practice of manumitting slaves. When Tiberius interceded with him for the freedom of Rome in behalf of a Greek client of his, he wrote to him for answer, I shall not grant it, unless he comes himself, and satisfies me that he has just grounds for the application. And when Livia begged the freedom of the city for a tributary Gaul, he refused it, but offered to release him from payment of taxes, saying, I shall sooner suffer some loss in my exchequer, than that the citizenship of Rome be rendered too common. Not content with interposing many obstacles to either the partial or complete emancipation of slaves, by quibbles respecting the number, condition and difference of those who were to be manumitted; he likewise enacted that none who had been put in chains or tortured, should ever obtain the freedom of the city in any degree. He endeavoured also to restore the old habit and dress of the Romans; and upon seeing once, in an assembly of the people, a crowd in grey cloaks, he exclaimed with indignation, "See there,|
Rome's conquering sons lords of the wide-spread globe,
Stalk proudly in the toga's graceful robe."
(Vergil Aeneid I. 282). And he gave orders to the aediles not to permit, in future, any Romans to be present in the forum or circus unless they took off their short coats, and wore the toga.
Note 1: he = Augustus
|Ac comitiis tribuniciis si deessent candidati senatores, ex equitibus R. creavit, ita ut potestate transacta in utro vellent ordine manerent. Cum autem plerique equitum attrito bellis civilibus patrimonio spectare ludos e quattuordecim non auderent metu poenae theatralis, pronuntiavit non teneri ea, quibus ipsis parentibusve equester census umquam fuisset. Populi recensum vicatim egit, ac ne plebs frumentationum causa frequentius ab negotiis avocaretur, ter in annum quaternum mensium tesseras dare destinavit; sed desideranti consuetudinem veterem concessit rursus, ut sui cuiusque mensis acciperet. Comitiorum quoque pristinum ius reduxit ac multiplici poena coercito ambitu, Fabianis et Scaptiensibus tribulibus suis die comitiorum, ne quid a quoquam candidato desiderarent, singula milia nummum a se dividebat. Magni praeterea existimans sincerum atque ab omni colluvione peregrini ac servilis sanguinis incorruptum servare populum, et civitates Romanas parcissime dedit et manumittendi modum termi navit. Tiberio pro cliente Graeco petenti rescripsit, non aliter se daturum, quam si praesens sibi persuasisset, quam iustas petendi causas haberet; et Liviae pro quodam tributario Gallo roganti civitatem negavit, immunitatem optulit affirmans facilius se passurum fisco detrahi aliquid, quam civitatis Romanae vulgari honorem. Servos non contentus multis difficultatibus a libertate et multo pluribus a libertate iusta removisse, cum et de numero et de condicione ac differentia eorum, qui manumitterentur, curiose cavisset, hoc quoque adiecit, ne vinctus umquam tortusve quis ullo libertatis genere civitatem adipisceretur, Etiam habitum vestitumque pristinum reducere studuit, ac visa quondam pro contione pullatorum turba indignabundus et clamitans: "en Romanos, rerum dominos, gentemque togatam!" negotium aedilibus dedit, ne quem posthac paterentur in Foro circave nisi positis lacernis togatum consistere.|