Thursday, July 25, 2013


First promulgated by the consul Spurius Cassius in 486 BC, according to Machiavelli in his Discourses on Livy, Book I, chapter 37:
This law had two principal articles. Through the first it provided that each Citizen could not possess more than so many jugeri of land, through the other that the fields which were taken from the enemy should be divided among the Roman people. This, therefore, came to make two strong offenses against the Nobles, for those who possessed more land than the law permitted ((of whom the Nobles were the greater part)) had to be deprived of it, and by dividing the possessions of the enemy among the Plebs, it deprived them (Nobles) that means of enriching themselves.
Machiavelli felt that these laws delayed the rise of tyrants for three hundred years:
So that if the contentions about the Agrarian law took three hundred years in bringing Rome to servitude, she would perhaps have been brought to servitude much sooner if the Plebs with this law and their other desires had not always restrained the ambitions of the Nobles.

No comments: