Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

thousand one hundred and forty-four that the establishment of the senate is dated, as a glorious æra, in the acts of the city. A new constitution was hastily framed by private ambition or popular enthusiasm ; nor could Rome, in the twelfth century, produce an antiquary to explain, or a legislator to restore, the harmony and proportions of the ancient model. The assembly of a free, of an armed, people, will ever speak in loud and weighty acclamations. But the regular distribution of the thirty-five tribes, the nice balance of the wealth and numbers of the centuries, the debates of the adverse orators, and the slow operation of votes and ballots, could not easily be adapted by a blind multitude, ignorant of the arts, and insensible of the benefits, of legal government. It was proposed by Arnold to revive and discriminate the equestrian order; but what could be the motive or measure of such distinction ? 34 The pecuniary qualification of the knights must have been reduced to the poverty of the times : those times no longer required their civil functions of judges and farmers of the revenue ; and their primitive duty, their military service on horseback, was more nobly supplied by feudal tenures and the spirit of chivalry. The jurisprudence of the republic was useless and unknown ; the nations and families of Italy who lived under the Roman and barbaric laws were insensibly mingled in a common mass : and some faint tradition, some imperfect fragments, preserved the memory of the Code and Pandects of Justinian. With their liberty the Romans might doubtless have restored the appellation and office of consuls, had they not disdained a title so promiscuously adopted in the Italian cities, that it has finally settled on the humble station of the agents of commerce in a foreign land. But the rights of the tribunes, the formidable word that arrested the public counsels, suppose or must produce a legitimate democracy. The old patricians were the subjects, the modern barons the tyrants, of the state; nor would the enemies of peace and order, who insulted the vicar of Christ, have long respected the unarmed sanctity of a plebeian magistrate.

In the revolution of the twelfth century, which gave a new exist

35

34 In ancient Rome the equestrian order was not ranked with the senate and people as a third branch of the republic till the consulship of Cicero, who assumes the irerit of the establishment (Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 3 [8]; Beaufort, République Romaine, tom. i. p. 144-155). * The republican plan of Arnold of Brescia is thus stated by Gunther:

Quin etiam titulos urbis renovare vetustos;
Nomine plebeio secernere nomen equestre,
Jura tribunorum, sanctum reparare senatum,
Et senio fessas mutasque reponere leges.
Lapsa ruinosis, et adhuc pendentia muris

Reddere primævo Capitolia prisca nitori.
But of these reformations sobie were no more than ideas, others no more than word

ence and æra to Rome, we may observe the real and important

events that marked or confirmed her political independence. The Capitol.

1. The Capitoline nill, one of her seven eminences, 36 is about four hundred yards in length, and two hundred in breadth. A flight of a hundred steps led to the summit of the Tarpeian rock; and far steeper was the ascent before the declivities had been smoothed and the precipices filled by the ruins of fallen edifices. From the earliest ages the Capitol had been used as a temple in peace, a fortress in war: after the loss of the city it maintained a siege against the victorious Gauls; and the sanctuary of the empire was occupied, assaulted, and burnt, in the civil wars of Vitellius and Vespasian.37 The temples of Jupiter and his kindred deities had crumbled into dust; their place was supplied by monasteries and houses ; and the solid walls, the long and shelving porticoes, were decayed or ruined by the lapse of time. It was the first act of the Romans, an act of freedom, to restore the strength, though not the beauty, of the Capitol ; to fortify the seat of their arms and counsels; and as often as they ascended the hill, the coldest minds must have

glowed with the remembrance of their ancestors. II. The

first Cæsars had been invested with the exclusive coinage of the gold and silver; to the senate they abandoned the baser metal of bronze or copper : 38 the emblems and legends were inscribed on a more ample field by the genius of flattery; and the prince was relieved from the care of celebrating his own virtues. The successors of Diocletian despised even the fattery of the senate: their royal officers at Rome, and in the provinces, assumed the sole direction of the mint; and the same prerogative was inherited by the Gothic kings of Italy, and the long series of the Greek, the French, and the German dynasties. After an abdication of eight hundred years the

The coin,

38 After many disputes among the antiquaries of Rome, it seems determined that the summit of the Capitoline hill next the river is strictly the Mons Tarpeius, the Arx; and that on the other summit, the church and convent of Araceli, the barefoot friars of St. Francis occupy the temple of Jupiter (Nardini, Roma Antica, 1. v. o. 11-16).*

37 Tacit. Hist. iii, 69, 70.

** This partition of the noble and baser metals between the emperor and senate must however be adopted, not as a positive fact, but as the probable opinion of the best antiquaries b (see the Science des Médailles of the Père Joubert, tom. ii, J. 208. 211, in the improved and scarce edition of the Baron de la Bastie).

• The best modern writers on the topo. lazzo Caffarelli. See Bunsen, Beschrei graphy of Rome have, however, come to bung der Stadt Rom, vol. iii. p. 10, seq. ; a contrary conclusion. They maintain Becker, Handbuch der Römischen Alter. that the Arx is the north-eastern summit, thümer, vol. i. p. 385, seq.-S. now occupied by the church of Ara Celi; b Dr. Cardwell (Lecture on Ancient and that the Capitolium, or temple of Coins, p. 70 et seq.) assigns convincing Jupitor, is the south-western summit, reasons in support of this opinion.--M. which is now covered in part by the Pa

of the city.

Roman senate asserted this honourable and lucrative pr.vilege ; which was tacitly renounced by the popes, from Paschal the Second to the establishment of their residence beyond the Alps. Some of these republican coins of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are shown in the cabinets of the curious. On one of these, a gold medal, Christ is depictured holding in his left hand a book with this inscription : “ THE VOW OF THE ROMAN SENATE AND PEOPLE: ROME THE “ CAPITAL OF THE WORLD;” on the reverse, St. Peter delivering a banner to a kneeling senator in his cap and gown, with the name and arms of his family impressed on a shield. 39 III. With

The præfect the empire, the præfect of the city had declined to a municipal officer; yet he still exercised in the last appeal the civil and criminal jurisdiction; and a drawn sword, which he received from the successors of Otho, was the mode of his investiture and the emblem of his functions. The dignity was confined to the noble families of Rome: the choice of the people was ratified by the pope ; but a triple oath of fidelity must have often embarrassed the præfect in the conflict of adverse duties. A servant, in whom they possessed but a third share, was dismissed by the independent Romans : in his place they elected a patrician; but this title, which Charlemagne had not disdained, was too lofty for a citizen or a subject; and after the first fervour of rebellion, they consented without reluctance to the restoration of the præfect. About fifty years after this event, Innocent the Third, the most 1198-1216. ambitious, or at least the most fortunate of the pontiffs, delivered the Romans and himself from this badge of foreign dominion : he

A.D.

* In his xxviith dissertation on the Antiquities of Italy (tom. ü. p. 559-569), Mura. tori exhibits a series of the senatorian coins, which bore the obscure names of Affor. tiati, Infortiati, Provisini, Paparini. During this period, all the popes, without excepting Boniface VIII., abstained from the right of coining, which was resumed by his suc. cessor Benedict XI. and regularly exercised in the court of Avignon.

* A German historian, Gerard of Reicherspeg (in Baluz. Miscell. tom. v. p. 64, apud Schmidt, Hist. des Allemands, tom. iü. p. 265), thus describes the constitution of Rome in the with century: Grandiora urbis et orbis negotia spectant ad Romanum pontificem iterque ad Rornanum Imperatorem, sive illius vicarium urbis præfectum, qui de suâ dignitate respicit utrumque, videlicet dominum papam cui facit hominium, et dominum imperatorem a quo accipit suæ potestatis insigne, scilicet gladium exertum.

" The words of a contemporary writer (Pandulph. Pisan. in Vit. Paschal. II. p. 357, 358) describe the election and oath of the præfect in 1118, inconsultis patribus

loca præfectoria . .... Laudes præfectoriæ .... comitiorum applausum

juraturum populo in ambonem sublevant. confirmari eum in urbo præfectum petunt.

• The Romans elected Jordanus patri. succeeded in abolishing the patriciate, cian in the year 1144, in the pontificate banishing Jordanus, and rendering the

Lucius II. Lucius met his death in senate dependent on himself. Von attempting to stem the popular torrent; Raumer, · Hohenstaufen,' ver Theil but in 1145 his successor, Eugenius III., p. 215.-S.

Number and

senate.

invested the præfect with a banner instead of a sword, and absolved him from all dependence of oaths or service to the German emperors.“ In his place an ecclesiastic, a present or future cardinal, was named by the pope to the civil government of Rome; but his jurisdiction has been reduced to a narrow compass; and in the days of freedom the right or exercise was derived from the senate and people.

IV. After the revival of the senate, 13 the conscript fathers choice of the (if I may use the expression) were invested with the legis

lative and executive power; but their views seldom reached beyond the present day; and that day was most frequently disturbed by violence and tumult. In its utmost plenitude the order or assembly consisted of fifty-six senators, the most eminent of whom were distinguished by the title of counsellors: they were nominated, perhaps annually, by the people ; and a previous choice of their electors, ten persons in each region, or parish, might afford a basis for a free and permanent constitution. The popes, who in this tempest submitted rather to bend than to break, confirmed by treaty the establishment and privileges of the senate, and expected from time, peace, and religion, the restoration of their government. The motives of public and private interest might sometimes draw from the Romans an occasional and temporary sacrifice of their claims; and they renewed their oath of allegiance to the successor of St. Peter and Constantine, the lawful head of the church and the republic.45

The union and vigour of a public council was dissolved in a lawless The office city; and the Romans soon adopted a more strong and

simple mode of administration. They condensed the name and authority of the senate in a single magistrate or two colleagues ; and as they were changed at the end of a year, or of six months, the greatness of the trust was compensated by the shortness of the

42 Urbis præfectum ad ligiam fidelitatem recepit, et per mantum quod illi donavit de præfecturd eum publice investivit, qui usque ad id tempus juramento fidelitatis imperatori fuit obligatus et ab eo præfecturæ tenuit honorem (Gesta Innocent. III. in Muratori, tom. iii. P. i. p. 487).

43 See Otho Frising. Chron. vii. 31, de Gest. Frederic. I., 1. i. c. 27.

* Our countryman, Roger Hoveden, speaks of the single senators, of the Capuzzi family, &c., quorum temporibus melius regebatur Roma quam nunc (A.D. 1194) esi temporibus lvi. senatorum (Ducange, Gloss. tom. vi. p. 191, SENATORES).

« Muratori (dissert. xlii. tom. iii. p. 785-788) has published an original treaty Concordia inter D. nostrum papam Clementem III. et senatores populi Romani super regalibus et aliis dignitatibus urbis, &c., anno 44o senatūs. The senate speaks, and speaks with authority: Reddimus ad præsens . ... habebimus .... dabitis presbyteria

.. jurabimus pacem et fidelitatem, &c. A chartula de Tenimentis Tusculani, dated in the 47th year of the same æra, and confirmed decreto amplissimi ordinis senatus, acclamationo P. R. publice Capitolio consistentis. It is there we find the difference of sonatores consiliarii and simple senators (Muratori, dissert. xlii. tom. iii. p. 737789).

of senator.

On important emergencies the people decision by acclamation. Von Raumer, Wes assemhled in the Capitol, and gave its •Hohenstaufen,' ver Theil, p. 217.-S.

46

term. But in this transient reign the senators of Rome indulged their avarice and ambition : their justice was perverted by the interest of their family and faction; and as they punished only their enemies, they were obeyed only by their adherents. Anarchy, no longer tempered by the pastoral care of their bishop, admonished the Romans that they were incapable of governing themselves; and they sought abroad those blessings which they were hopeless of finding at home. In the same age, and from the same motives, most of the Italian republics were prompted to embrace a measure which, however strange it may seem, was adapted to their situation, and productive of the most selutary effects. “ They chose, in some foreign but friendly city, an impartial magistrate of noble birth and unblemished character, a soldier and a statesman, recommended by the voice of fame and his country, to whom they delegated for a time the supreme administration of peace and war. The compact between the governor and the governed was sealed with oaths and subscriptions; and the duration of his power, the measure of his stipend, the nature of their mutual obligations, were defined with scrupulous precision. They swore to obey him as their lawful superior: he pledged his faith to unite the indifference of a stranger with the zeal of a patriot. At his choice, four or six knights and civilians, his assessors in arms and justice, attended the Podesta, “7 who maintained at his own expense a decent retinue of servants and horses : his wife, his son, his brother, who might bias the affections of the judge, were left behind : during the exercise of his office he was not permitted to purchase land, to contract an alliance, or even to accept an invitation in the house of a citizen; nor could he honourably depart till he had satisfied the complaints that might be urged against his government.

It was thus, about the middle of the thirteenth century, that the Romans called from Bologna the senator Brancaleone, *8 whose fame and merit have been rescued from oblivion by the pen of an English historian. A just anxiety for his

Brancaleone,

A.D. 1262-1268,

" Muratori (dissert. xlv. tom. iv. p. 64-92) has fully explained this mode of government; and the Occulus Pastoralis, which ho has given at the end, is a treatise on sermon on the duties of these foreign magistrates.

" In the Latin writers, at least of the silver age, the title of Potestas was transferred from the office to the magistrate:

Hujus qui trahitur prætextam sumere mavis;
An Fidenarum Gabiorumque esse Potestas.

(Juvenal. Satir. x. 99.) 68 See the life and death of Brancaleone, in the Historia Major of Matthew Paris, p. 741, 757, 792, 797, 799, 810, 823, 833, 836, 840. The multitude of pilgrims and suitors connected Rome and St. Alban's, and the resentment of the English clergy prompted them to rejoice whenever the popes were humbled and oppressed.

« ForrigeFortsett »