chapter  I
13 Pages


That which, according to tradition, king Servius Tullius created was nothing else than civil society placed in time of need on a war footing. As a general principle, all citizens from seventeen to sixty years of age were enrolled in it; but in virtue of a distinction between juniores and seniores, the older men formed only a sort of reserve which was usually exempted from service in the field. The system of centuries,2 which was essentially military, reveals the idea of graduating obligations according to wealth, that is to say practically according to birth. The richest citizens composed the picked troop of cavalry which was revised every five years by the censors; indeed, equestrian service involved very heavy expenses, which were only diminished by the grant of a first indemnity on the purchase of the horse and a second, paid annually, to reduce the cost of its maintenance. This organization was not unlike that of the Macedonian army, whose order of battle, in phalanx formation, was also that of the first Republican army, though less homogeneous and compact.