Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XII - The Library of History

Page 272


Of the Decemviri in Rome, chosen to make Laws. The War between the Thurians and Tarentines. The sad Story of the Daughter of one Lucius Virginius in Rome, which caus'd a disturbance and great Sedition. The Law of the Twelve Tables. Peace all over the World.

WHen Praxitiles was Governor of Athens, the Eighty Fourth Olympiad was celebrated (in which Crison of Himera was Victor) and at Rome, Ten Persons (call'd the Decem-viri) were chosen to compose new Laws. Publius Claudius Regillanus, TitusMinutius, Sporius Viturius, Caius Julius,Caius Sulpitius, Publius Sestius,Romilius, Sporius Posthumius,Culbinius and Publius Horatius. By these Persons were Laws made. In their time a War broke out between the Thurians and them of Tarentum; in which War the Countries were wasted on both sides by Inroads by Land, and Invasions from Sea; many small Battels and Skirmishes were fought, but nothing done of any moment.

Lysanias being chief Ruler at Athens, the Romans again chose Ten Men for making of Laws. Appius Claudius, Marcus Cornelius, Lucius Minutius, Caius Sergius, Quintus Pitilius, Marcus Rabuleius, T. Antonius Meranda, Q. Fabius Vibulanus, C. Duilius, and Sp. Oppius. But these could not perfect the Business wherein they were imploy'd; for one of them fell in Love with a beautiful Virgin, but of small Fortune, whom he endeavour'd to debauch by Money. But when he saw he could not gain his Design by those means, he subborn'd a Fellow fit for his purpose to claim her for his Bondslave, and to bring her before the Decem-viri, and demand Judgment against her as his Slave; which was easily obtain'd from a corrupt Judge, the Author of the Villany. She being delivered to him, the Sycophant Knave carry'd her away as his Bond-maid. In the mean time, the Father of the Young Woman, mov'd with Grief and Rage at the indignity offer'd, hasten'd to the Court, where seeing no hopes of redress, he follow'd his Daughter close behind her, and spying a Knife in a Butcher's Shop, as he pass'd by, he snatcht it up, and forthwith stabb'd his Daughter to Death, to avoid the indignity and disgrace of such a condition, and forthwith without delay, hastening out of the City, made to the Army that was then encamp'd at Algidum, and with many Tears declar'd his miserable Condition, and implor'd their Assistance; which on the suddain affected them all with Commiseration, and great sorrow at his Calamity; upon which (being all stirr'd up with a resolution to relieve the distressed Father) in the Night they rush into Rome, and possess themselves of the Aventine Mount. As soon as the Day brake, the Decem-viri, being inform'd of the Rage of the Soldiers against the wickedness of the Fact (by force of Arms resolving to defend their Collegue) got together a multitude of Young Men to dispute the matter with their Adversaries by the Sword. And now a great and bloody Fight seem'd to be at hand, when some of the Citizens of the best Quality, foreseeing the danger, interpos'd by Messengers to both Parties, in order to compose the Difference; intreating and earnestly beseeching them, that they would forbear, and not involve their Country in Blood and Destruction. At length the matter was agreed upon these Conditions, That there should be Ten call'd Tribunes of the People chosen, who should have Sovereign Power and Authority over all the rest of the Magistrates of the City, and who might protect the common Liberty of the People: And that one of the Consuls every Year should be chosen out of the Senators, and the other out of the Common People. Yea, further, that they should have Power to chuse both Consuls out from among themselves if they thought fit. And this Law was then made to be a Check to the exorbitant power of the Patricians; for they under colour of their great and high Birth, and the glory of their Families, with insufferable Pride engross'd to themselves all the power and authority of

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