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Altes Museum Berlin

Ancient texts

Liv. (4.1)

Canuleus' law

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    Tribunes with
consular power

445BC

Prohibition of intermarriage?
The struggle between the orders continues when the peoples tribune Canuleus' law is proposed. Though nor Livius nor Dionysius mention a prohibition of intermarriage between plebeians and patricians during the reign of the decemvirs, now it became a serious item. There are historians who doubt the historicity of this prohibition.

Livius narrates how this story unfolds along the the fixed pattern:

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Proposal blocked
C. Canuleus proposed the law that would permit intermarriage and the consuls tried to hold a levy because there was enemy activity. Once incorporated in the army, each man had vowed obedience, and there would be no appeal against decisions a the consul. The peoples tribunes, probably for that reason, were not allowed to leave the city for more than 24 hours and could offer no protection.

Levy blocked
The tribunes in turn would block such a levy and force the patricians to give in and allow the law to be proposed.

Plebeian consul?
But once the law was accepted the tribunes wanted more. They demanded plebeians could opt for the office of consul. But this was a bridge too far for the patricians. In the end a compromise is reached: Instead of consuls military tribunes were elected, military tribunes with consular power. This office could be served by plebeians too.
Remarkable is though, that all the military tribunes elected, were patricians.


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    Tribunes with
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