Cicero, de Lege Agraria (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Agr.].
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2.78 For they themselves have desired the Campanian district which they hold out a hope of to you. They will lead thither their own friends, in whose name they themselves may occupy it and enjoy it. Besides all this, they will make purchases; they will add the other ten acres to their present estate. For if they say that that is not lawful by the law; by the Cornelian law it certainly is not. But we see (to say nothing about lands at a distance) that the district of Praeneste is occupied by a few people. And I do not see that anything is wanting to their fortunes, except farms of such a description that they may be able by the supplies which they derive from them to support their very large households, and the expense of their farms near Cumae and Puteoli. But if he be thinking of what is for your advantage, then let him come, and let him discuss with me, face to face, the decision of the Campanian district.

ch. 29


I asked him on the first of January, to what men he was going to distribute that land, and on what principles. He answered that he should begin with the Romilian tribe. In the first place now, what is the object of such pride and arrogance as to cut off one portion of the people, and to neglect the order of the tribes? to contrive to give land to the country people who have it already, before any is given to the city people, to whom the hope of land and the pleasure they are to derive from it is held out as an inducement ? Or if he says that this is not what he said, and if he has some plan in his head to satisfy all of you, let him produce it; let him allot it in divisions of ten acres; let him put forth your names in a regular arrangement from the district of the Subura to that of the Arnus. If you perceive not only that ten acres are not given to you, but that it is actually impossible for such a body of men to be collected together in the district of Campania, will you nevertheless allow the republic to be harassed, the majesty of the Roman people to be despised, and you yourselves to be deluded any longer by the tribune of the people?


But if that land could possibly come to you, would you not rather that it remained as part of your patrimony? Will you allow the most beautiful estate belonging to the Roman people—the main source of your riches, your chief ornament in time of peace, your chief source of supply in time of war, the foundation of your revenues, the granary from which your legions are fed, your consolation in time of scarcity—to be ruined? Have you forgotten what great armies you supported by means of the produce of Campania, in the Italian war, when you had lost all your ordinary sources of revenue? Are you ignorant that all those magnificent revenues of the Roman people are often dependent on a very slight impulse of fortune-on a critical moment? What will all the harbours of Asia, what will the plains of Syria, what will all our transmarine revenues avail us, if the very slightest alarm of pirates or enemies be once given?

2.81 But as our revenues derived from the territory of Campania are of such a nature that they are always at home, and that they are protected by the bulwark of all our Italian towns, so they are neither hostile to us in time of war, nor variable in their productiveness, nor unfortunate from any accidents of climate or soil.

Our ancestors were so far from diminishing what they had taken from the Campanians, that they even bought additional lands to be added to it, from those from whom they could not reasonably take it without purchase. For which reason, neither the two Gracchi, who thought a great deal of what was advantageous for the Roman people, nor Lucius Sulla, who gave away everything without the slightest scruple to any one he pleased, ever ventured to touch the Campanian territory. Rullus was the first man to venture to remove the republic from that property, of which neither the liberality of the Gracchi nor the uncontrolled power of Sulla had deprived it.

ch. 30

That land which now, as you pass by it, you say is yours, and which foreigners whose road lies through it hear is yours, when it is divided will neither be nor be said to be yours.

2.82 And who are the men who will possess it? In the first place they are active men, prepared for deeds of violence, willing for sedition, who, the very moment the decemvirs clap their hands, may be armed against the citizens and ready for slaughter. In the next place, you will see the whole district of Campania distributed among a few men already rich in wealth and power. Meanwhile you, who have received from your ancestors those most beautiful homes, if I may so say, of your revenues, which they won by their arms, will not have left to you one single clod of earth of all your paternal hereditary possessions. And there will be this difference between your diligence and that or private individuals, that when Publius Lentulus, while he was chief of the senate, had been sent into those parts by our ancestors, in order to purchase at the public expense those lands, being private property, which projected into the public domain in Campania, he is said to have reported that he had not been able to purchase a certain man's estate for money; and that he who had refused to sell it, had given this reason why he could not possibly be induced to sell it, that, though he had many farms, this was the only farm from which he never had had any bad news.

Cicero, de Lege Agraria (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Agr.].
<<Cic. Agr. 2.75 Cic. Agr. 2.80 (Latin) >>Cic. Agr. 2.85

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