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93 Intermarriages between the Patricians and Plebeians were prohibited by the laws of the XII Tables; and the uniform operations of human nature may attest that the custom survived the law. See in Livy (iv. 1–6.), the pride of family urged by the consul, and the rights of mankind asserted by the tribune Canuleius.
D 4 nours,
nours, deserved triumphs, contračted alliances, and, after some generations, assumed the pride of ancient nobility". The Patrician families, on
the other hand, whose original number was never
recruited till the end of the commonwealth, either failed in the ordinary course of nature, or were extinguished in so many foreign and domestic wars, or, through a want of merit or fortune, insensibly mingled with the mass of the people”. Very few remained who could derive their pure and genuine origin from the infancy of the city, or even from that of the republic, when Caesar and Augustus, Claudius and Vespasian, created from the body of the senate a competent number of new Patrician families, in the hope of perpetuating an order, which was still confidered as honour. able and sacred". But these artificial supplies (in which the reigning house was always included) were rapidly swept away by the rage of tyrants, by frequent revolutions, by the change of manners, and by the intermixture of nations". Little more was left when Constantine ascended the throne, than a vague and imperfect tradition, that the Patricians had once been the first of the Romans. To form a body of nobles, whose influence may restrain, while it secures the authority of the monarch, would have been very inconsistent with the character and policy of Constantine; but had he seriously entertained such a design, it might have exceeded the measure of his power to ratify, by an arbitrary edićt, an institution which must expect the sančtion of time and of opinion. He revived, indeed, the title of PATRICIANs, but he revived it as a personal, not as an hereditary distinčtion. They yielded only to the transient superiority of the annual consuls; but they enjoyed the pre-eminence over all the great officers of state, with the most familiar access to the person of the prince. This honourable rank was bestowed on them for life; and as they were usually favourites, and ministers who had grown old in the Imperial court, the true
94 See the animated pi&tures drawn by Sallust, in the Jugurthine war, of the pride of the uobles, and even of the virtuous Meteilus, who was unable to brook the idea that the honour of the consulship should be bestowed on the obscure merit of his lieutenant Marius (c. 64.). Two hundred years before, the race of the Metelli themselves were confounded among the Plebeians of Rome; and from the etymology of their name of Cacilius, there is reason to believe that those haughty nobles derived their origin from a sutler. -
95 In the year of Rome 800, very few remained, not only of the old Patrician families, but even of those which had been created by Caesar and Augustus. (Tacit. Annal. xi. 25.) The family of Scaurus (a branch of the Patrician AEmilii) was degraded so low that his father, who exercised the trade of a charcoal merchant, left him only ten slaves, and somewhat less than three hundred pounds sterling. (Valerius Maximus, l. iv. c. 4, n. 11., Aurel. Wićtor in Scauro.) The family was saved from oblivion by the merit of the son.
96 Tacit. Annal. xi. 25. Dion Cassius, l. iii. p. 693. The virtues of Agricola, who was created a Patrician by the emperor Ye-- - -> spasians
etymology of the word was perverted by ignorance and flattery; and the Patricians of Constantine were reverenced as the adopted Fathers of the emperor and the republic *. II. The fortunes of the Praetorian praefects were essentially different from those of the consuls and patricians. The latter saw their ancient greatness evaporate in a vain title. The former, rising by degrees from the most humble condition, were invested with the civil and military administration of the Roman world. From the reign of Severus to that of Diocletian, the guards and the palace, the laws and the finances, the armies and the provinces, were entrusted to their superintending care; and, like the Vizirso of the East, they held with one hand the seal, and with the other the standard, of the empire. The ambition . of the praefects, always formidable, and sometimes fatal to the masters whom they served, was supported by the strength of the Praetorian bands; but after those haughty troops had been weakened by Diocletian, and finally suppressed by Constantine, the praefects, who survived their fall, were reduced without difficulty to the station of useful and obedient ministers. When they were no longer responsible for the safety of the emperor's person, they resigned the jurisdiction which they had hitherto claimed and exercised over all the departments of the palace. They were deprived by Constantine of all military command, as soon as they had ceased to lead into the
C H. A. P.
The Prae. .
* Zosimus, l. ii. p. 118. ; and Godefroy ad Cod. Theodos. i. vi. tit, wi. field,
field, under their immediate orders, the flower of c H A P.
the Roman troops; and at length, by a fingular revolution, the captains of the guards were transformed into the civil magistrates of the provinces. According to the plan of government instituted by Diocletian, the four princes had each their Praetorian praefect; and, after the monarchy was once more united in the person of Constantine, he still continued to create the same number of Four. PRIEF Ects, and entrusted to their care the same provinces which they already administered. 1. The praefect of the East stretched his ample juris. dićtion into the three parts of the globe which were subjećt to the Romans, from the cataraćts of the Nile to the banks of the Phasis, and from the mountains of Thrace to the frontiers of Persia. 2. The important provinces of Pannonia, Dacia, Macedonia, and Greece, once acknowledged the authority of the praese&t of Illyricum. 3. The power of the praefect of Italy was not confined to the country from whence he derived his title; it extended over the additional territory of Rhaetia as far as the banks of the Danube, over the dependent islands of the Mediterranean, and over that part of the continent of Africa which lies between the confines of Cyrene and those of Tingitania. 4. The praefect of the Gauls com. prehended under that plural denomination the kindred provinces of Britain and Spain, and his authority was obeyed from the wall of Antoninus to the foot of Mount Atlas”.
99 zofimus, 1. ii. p. 109, 110. If we had not fortunately possessed this satisfactory account of the division of the power and provinces