Essay 247

The second secession was caused by the autocratic and arrogant behaviour of the decemviri who had been charged by the Roman people with writing down the laws in use till then kept secret by the patrician magistrates and the sacerdotes . All magistracies and the tribunes of the plebs had resigned in advance. The task resulted in the XII Tables, which though concerned only private law. The plebs once again retreated to the Sacer Mons: this act besides recalling the first secession was meant to seek the protection of the supreme god. The secession ended with the resignation of the decemviri and an amnesty for the rebellious soldiers who had deserted from their camp near Mount Algidus while warring against the Volscians, abandoning the commanders. The amnesty was granted by the senate and guaranteed by the pontifex maximus Quintus Furius (in Livy's version) (or Marcus Papirius) who also supervised the nomination of the new tribunes of the plebs, then gathered on the Aventine Hill. The role played by the pontifex maximus in a situation of vacation of powers is a significant element underlining the religious basis and character of the tribunicia potestas . [32]

Essay 247

essay 247

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