Rome was now mistress of all Italy south of the Arnus and Aesis. This country was divided into two parts.

I. The AGER ROMÁNUS, including about one quarter of the whole, bounded on the north by CAERE, on the south by FORMIAE, and on the east by the APENNINES.


The Ager Románus was subdivided, for voting and financial purposes, into thirty-three, afterwards thirty-five districts (tribes), four of which were in Rome. The elections were all held at Rome.

These districts were made up, -

a. Of ROME.

b. Of the ROMAN COLONIES, mostly maritime, now numbering seven, but finally increased to thirty-five.

c. Of the MUNICIPIA (towns bound to service).

d. Of the PRAEFECTÚRAE (towns governed by a praefect, who was sent from Rome and appointed by the Praetor).


a. Of the LATIN (military) COLONIES, now numbering twenty-two, afterwards increased to thirty-five.

b. Of the ALLIES of Rome (Socii), whose cities and adjoining territory composed more than one half of the country controlled by Rome.

These allies were allowed local government, were not obliged to pay tribute, but were called upon to furnish their proportion of troops for the Roman army.

The inhabitants of this country were divided into five classes, viz. -

a. Those who possessed both PUBLIC and PRIVATE RIGHTS as citizens, i. e. FULL RIGHTS. [Footnote: Public rights consisted of the jus suffragii (right of voting at Rome); jus honorum (right of holding office), and jus provocationis (right of appeal). Private rights were jus connubii (right of intermarriage); and jus commercii (right of trading and holding property). Full rights were acquired either by birth or gift. A child born of parents, both of whom enjoyed the jus connubii, was a Roman citizen with full rights. Foreigners were sometimes presented with citizenship ( civitas)]

b. Those who were subjects and did not possess full rights.

c. Those who were ALLIES (Socii).

d. Those who were SLAVES, who possessed no rights.

e. Those who were RESIDENT FOREIGNERS, who possessed the right of trading.

To class a belonged the citizens of Rome, of the Roman colonies, and of some of the Municipia.

To class b belonged the citizens of most of the Municipia, who possessed only private rights, the citizens of all the Praefectúrae, and the citizens of all the Latin colonies.


Even at this early date, the necessity of easy communication with the capital seems to have been well understood. Roads were pushed in every direction, - broad, level ways, over which armies might be marched or intelligence quickly carried. They were chains which bound her possessions indissolubly together. Some of them remain today a monument of Roman thoroughness, enterprise, and sagacity, - the wonder and admiration of modern road-builders. By these means did Rome fasten together the constantly increasing fabric of her empire, so that not even the successes of Hannibal caused more than a momentary shaking of fidelity, for which ample punishment was both speedy and certain.


The three most noted men of the period embraced in the two preceding chapters were Appius Claudius, the Censor and patrician; and Manius Curius Dentátus and Gaius Fabricius, plebeians.

We have seen that all plebeians who were land-owners belonged to one of the tribes, and could vote in the Comitia Tribúta; this, however, shut out the plebeians of the city who owned no land, and also the freedmen, who were generally educated and professional men, such as doctors, teachers, etc.

APPIUS CLAUDIUS as Censor, in 312, deprived the landowners of the exclusive privilege of voting in the Comitia Tribúta, and gave to property owners of any sort the right to vote. Eight years later this law was modified, so that it applied to the four city tribes alone, and the thirty-one rural tribes had for their basis landed property only.

During the censorship of Appius, Rome had its first regular water supply by the Appian aqueduct. The first military road, the VIA APPIA, was built under his supervision. This road ran at first from Rome as far as Capua. It was constructed so well that many parts of it are today in good condition. The road was afterward extended to Brundisium, through Venusia and Tarentum.

MANIUS CURIUS DENTÁTUS was a peasant, a contemporary of Appius, and his opponent in many ways. He was a strong friend of the plebeians. He obtained for the soldiers large assignments of theAger Publicus. He drained the low and swampy country near Reáte by a canal. He was the conqueror of Pyrrhus. A man of sterling qualities, frugal and unostentatious, after his public life he retired to his farm and spent the remainder of his days in seclusion as a simple peasant.

GAIUS FABRICIUS, like Dentátus, was from the peasants. He was a Hernican. As a soldier he was successful. As a statesman he was incorruptible, and of great use to his country. Previous to the battle of Asculum, Pyrrhus attempted to bribe him by large sums of money, and, failing in this, thought to frighten him by hiding an elephant behind a curtain; the curtain was suddenly removed, but Fabricius, though immediately under the elephant's trunk, stood unmoved.

In this generation we find Roman character at its best. Wealth had not flowed into the state in such large quantities as to corrupt it. The great mass of the people were peasants, small land-owners, of frugal habits and moral qualities. But comparatively few owned large estates as yet, or possessed large tracts of the Ager Publicus. A century later, when most of the available land in the peninsula was held by the wealthy and farmed by slaves, we find a great change.

The fall of TARENTUM marks an important era in Roman history. Large treasures were obtained from this and other Greek cities in Southern Italy. Luxury became more fashionable; morals began to degenerate. Greed for wealth obtained by plunder began to get possession of the Romans. From now on the moral tone of the people continued to degenerate in proportion as their empire increased.