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Commerce in ancient Rome

Some Reflections on Corporations and Trades-Guilds

In a recent paper on "Ancient and Modern Imperialism," read before the British Classical Association, Lord Cromer, England's late consul-general in Egypt, notes certain points of resemblance between the English and the Roman methods of dealing with alien peoples. With the Greeks no such points of contact exist, because, as he remarks, "not only was the imperial idea foreign to the Greek mind; the federal conception was equally strange." This similarity between the political character and methods of the Romans and Anglo-Saxons strikes any one who reads the history of the two peoples side by side. They show the same genius for government at home, and a like success in conquering and holding foreign lands, and in assimilating alien peoples. Certain qualities which they have in common contribute to these like results. Both the Roman and the Anglo-Saxon have been men of affairs; both have shown great skill in adapting means to an end, and each has driven straight at the immediate object to be accomplished without paying much heed to logic or political theory. A Roman statesman would have said "Amen!" to the Englishman's pious hope that "his countrymen might never become consistent or logical in politics." Perhaps the willingness of the average Roman to co-operate with his fellows, and his skill in forming an organization suitable for the purpose in hand, go farther than any of the other qualities mentioned above to account for his success in governing other peoples as well as his own nation.

Our recognition of these striking points of resemblance between the Romans and ourselves has come from a comparative study of the political life of the two peoples. But the likeness to each other of the Romans and Anglo-Saxons, especially in the matter of associating themselves together for a common object, is still more apparent in their methods of dealing with private affairs. A characteristic and amusing illustration of the working of this tendency among the Romans is furnished by the early history of monasticism in the Roman world. When the Oriental Christian had convinced himself of the vanity of the world, he said: "It is the weakness of the flesh and the enticements of the wicked which tempt me to sin. Therefore I will withdraw from the world and mortify the flesh." This is the spirit which drove him into the desert or the mountains, to live in a cave with a lion or a wolf for his sole companion. This is the spirit which took St. Anthony into a solitary place in Egypt. It led St. Simeon Stylites to secure a more perfect sense of aloofness from the world, and a greater security from contact with it by spending the last thirty years of his life on the top of a pillar near Antioch. In the Western world, which was thoroughly imbued with the Roman spirit, the Christian who held the same view as his Eastern brother of the evil results flowing from intercourse with his fellow men, also withdrew from the world, but he withdrew in the company of a group of men who shared his opinions on the efficacy of a life of solitude. A delightful instance of the triumph of the principle of association over logic or theory! We Americans can understand perfectly the compelling force of the principle, even in such a case as this, and we should justify the Roman's action on the score of practical common sense. We have organizations for almost every conceivable political, social, literary, and economic purpose. In fact, it would be hard to mention an object for which it would not be possible to organize a club, a society, a league, a guild, or a union. In a similar way the Romans had organizations of capitalists and laborers, religious associations, political and social clubs, and leagues of veterans.

So far as organizations of capitalists are concerned, their history is closely bound up with that of imperialism. They come to our notice for the first time during the wars with Carthage, when Rome made her earliest acquisitions outside of Italy. In his account of the campaigns in Spain against Hannibal's lieutenants, Livy tells us 101  of the great straits to which the Roman army was reduced for its pay, food, and clothing. The need was urgent, but the treasury was empty, and the people poverty-stricken. In this emergency the prætor called a public meeting, laid before it the situation in Spain, and, appealing to the joint-stock companies to come to the relief of the state, appointed a day when proposals could be made to furnish what was required by the army. On the appointed day three societates, or corporations, offered to make the necessary loans to the government; their offers were accepted, and the needs of the army were met. The transaction reminds us of similar emergencies in our civil war, when syndicates of bankers came to the support of the government. The present-day tendency to question the motives of all corporations dealing with the government does not seem to color Livy's interpretation of the incident, for he cites it in proof of the patriotic spirit which ran through all classes in the face of the struggle with Carthage. The appearance of the joint-stock company at the moment when the policy of territorial expansion is coming to the front is significant of the close connection which existed later between imperialism and corporate finance, but the later relations of corporations to the public interests cannot always be interpreted in so charitable a fashion.

Our public-service companies find no counter-part in antiquity, but the Roman societies for the collection of taxes bear a resemblance to these modern organizations of capital in the nature of the franchises, as we may call them, and the special privileges which they had. The practice which the Roman government followed of letting out to the highest bidder the privilege of collecting the taxes in each of the provinces, naturally gave a great impetus to the development of companies organized for this purpose. Every new province added to the Empire opened a fresh field for capitalistic enterprise, in the way not only of farming the taxes, but also of loaning money, constructing public works, and leasing the mines belonging to the state, and Roman politicians must have felt these financial considerations steadily pushing them on to further conquests.

But the interest of the companies did not end when Roman eagles had been planted in a new region. It was necessary to have the provincial government so managed as to help the agents of the companies in making as much money as possible out of the provincials, and Cicero's year as governor of Cilicia was made almost intolerable by the exactions which these agents practised on the Cilicians, and the pressure which they brought to bear upon him and his subordinates. His letters to his intimate friend, Atticus, during this period contain pathetic accounts of the embarrassing situations in which loaning companies and individual capitalists at Rome placed him. On one occasion a certain Scaptius came to him 102 , armed with a strong letter of recommendation from the impeccable Brutus, and asked to be appointed prefect of Cyprus. His purpose was, by official pressure, to squeeze out of the people of Salamis, in Cyprus, a debt which they owed, running at forty-eight per cent interest. Upon making some inquiry into the previous history of Scaptius, Cicero learned that under his predecessor in Cilicia, this same Scaptius had secured an appointment as prefect of Cyprus, and backed by his official power, to collect money due his company, had shut up the members of the Salaminian common council in their town hall until five of them died of starvation. In domestic politics the companies played an equally important rôle. The relations which existed between the "interests" and political leaders were as close in ancient times as they are to-day, and corporations were as unpartisan in Rome in their political alliances as they are in the United States. They impartially supported the democratic platforms of Gaius Gracchus and Julius Cæsar in return for valuable concessions, and backed the candidacy of the constitutionalist Pompey for the position of commander-in-chief of the fleets and armies acting against the Eastern pirates, and against Mithridates, in like expectation of substantial returns for their help. What gave the companies their influence at the polls was the fact that their shares were very widely held by voters. Polybius, the Greek historian, writing of conditions at Rome in the second century B.C., gives us to understand that almost every citizen owned shares in some joint-stock company 103 . Poor crops in Sicily, heavy rains in Sardinia, an uprising in Gaul, or "a strike" in the Spanish mines would touch the pocket of every middle-class Roman.

In these circumstances it is hard to see how the Roman got on without stock quotations in the newspapers. But Cæsar's publication of the Acta Diurna, or proceedings of the senate and assembly, would take the place of our newspapers in some respects, and the crowds which gathered at the points where these documents were posted, would remind us of the throngs collected in front of the bulletin in the window of a newspaper office when some exciting event has occurred. Couriers were constantly arriving from the agents of corporations in Gaul, Spain, Africa, and Asia with the latest news of industrial and financial enterprises in all these sections. What a scurrying of feet there must have been through the streets when the first news reached Rome of the insurrection of the proletariat in Asia in 88 B.C., and of the proclamation of Mithridates guaranteeing release from half of their obligations to all debtors who should kill money-lenders! Asiatic stocks must have dropped almost to the zero point. We find no evidence of the existence of an organized stock exchange. Perhaps none was necessary, because the shares of stock do not seem to have been transferable, but other financial business arising out of the organization of these companies, like the loaning of money on stock, could be transacted reasonably well in the row of banking offices which ran along one side of the Forum, and made it an ancient Wall Street or Lombard Street.

"Trusts" founded to control prices troub led the Romans, as they trouble us to-day. There is an amusing reference to one of these trade combinations as early as the third century before our era in the Captives of Plautus.104  The parasite in the play has been using his best quips and his most effective leads to get an invitation to dinner, but he can't provoke a smile, to say nothing of extracting an invitation. In a high state of indignation he threatens to prosecute the men who avoid being his hosts for entering into an unlawful combination like that of "the oil dealers in the Velabrum." Incidentally it is a rather interesting historical coincidence that the pioneer monopoly in Rome, as in our day, was an oil trust—in the time of Plautus, of course, an olive-oil trust. In the "Trickster," which was presented in 191 B.C., a character refers to the mountains of grain which the dealers had in their warehouses.105  Two years later the "corner" had become so effective that the government intervened, and the curule ædiles who had charge of the markets imposed a heavy fine on the grain speculators.106  The case was apparently prosecuted under the Laws of the Twelve Tables of 450 B.C., the Magna Charta of Roman liberty. It would seem, therefore, that combinations in restraint of trade were formed at a very early date in Rome, and perhaps Diocletian's attempt in the third century of our era to lower the cost of living by fixing the prices of all sorts of commodities was aimed in part at the same evil. As for government ownership, the Roman state made one or two essays in this field, notably in the case of mines, but with indifferent success.

Labor was as completely organized as capital.107  In fact the passion of the Romans for association shows itself even more clearly here, and it would be possible to write their industrial history from a study of their trades-unions. The story of Rome carries the founding of these guilds back to the early days of the regal period. From the investigations of Waltzing, Liebenam, and others their history can be made out in considerable detail. Roman tradition was delightfully systematic in assigning the founding of one set of institutions to one king and of another group to another king. Romulus, for instance, is the war king, and concerns himself with military and political institutions. The second king, Numa, is a man of peace, and is occupied throughout his reign with the social and religious organization of his people. It was Numa who established guilds of carpenters, dyers, shoemakers, tanners, workers in copper and gold, fluteplayers, and potters. The critical historian looks with a sceptical eye on the story of the kings, and yet this list of trades is just what we should expect to find in primitive Rome. There are no bakers or weavers, for instance, in the list. We know that in our own colonial days the baking, spinning, and weaving were done at home, as they would naturally have been when Rome was a community of shepherds and farmers. As Roman civilization became more complex, industrial specialization developed, and the number of guilds grew, but during the Republic we cannot trace their growth very successfully for lack of information about them. Corporations, as we have seen, played an important part in politics, and their doings are chronicled in the literature, like oratory and history, which deals with public questions, but the trades-guilds had little share in politics; they were made up of the obscure and weak, and consequently are rarely mentioned in the writings of a Cicero or a Livy.

It is only when the general passion for setting down records of all sorts of enterprises and incidents on imperishable materials came in with the Empire that the story of the Roman trades-union can be clearly followed. It is a fortunate thing for us that this mania swept through the Roman Empire, because it has given us some twenty-five hundred inscriptions dealing with these organizations of workmen. These inscriptions disclose the fact that there were more than eighty different trades organized into guilds in the city of Rome alone. They included skilled and unskilled laborers, from the porters, or saccarii, to the goldsmiths, or aurifices. The names of some of them, like the pastillarii, or guild of pastile-makers, and the scabillarii, or castanet-players, indicate a high degree of industrial specialization. From one man's tombstone even the conclusion seems to follow that he belonged to a union of what we may perhaps call checker-board makers. The merchants formed trade associations freely. Dealers in oil, in wine, in fish, and in grain are found organized all over the Empire. Even the perfumers, hay-dealers, and ragmen had their societies. No line of distinction seems to be drawn between the artist and the artisan. The mason and the sculptor were classed in the same category by Roman writers, so that we are not surprised to find unions of men in both occupations. A curious distinction between the professions is also brought out by these guild inscriptions. There are unions made up of physicians, but none of lawyers, for the lawyer in early times was supposed to receive no remuneration for his services. In point of fact the physician was on a lower social plane in Rome than he was even among our ancestors. The profession was followed almost exclusively by Greek freedmen, as we can see from the records on their tombstones, and was highly specialized, if we may judge from the epitaphs of eye and ear doctors, surgeons, dentists, and veterinarians. To the same category with the physician and sculptor belong the architect, the teacher, and the chemist. Men of these professions pursued the artes liberales, as the Romans put it, and constituted an aristocracy among those engaged in the trades or lower professions. Below them in the hierarchy came those who gained a livelihood by the artes ludicræ, like the actor, professional dancer, juggler, or gladiator, and in the lowest caste were the carpenters, weavers, and other artisans whose occupations were artes vulgares et sordidæ.

In the early part of this chapter the tendency of the Romans to form voluntary associations was noted as a national characteristic. This fact comes out very clearly if we compare the number of trades-unions in the Western world with those in Greece and the Orient. Our conclusions must be drawn of course from the extant inscriptions which refer to guilds, and time may have dealt more harshly with the stones in one place than in another, or the Roman government may have given its consent to the establishment of such organizations with more reluctance in one province than another; but, taking into account the fact that we have guild inscriptions from four hundred and seventy-five towns and villages in the Empire, these elements of uncertainty in our conclusions are practically eliminated, and a fair comparison may be drawn between conditions in the East and the West. If we pick out some of the more important towns in the Greek part of the Roman world, we find five guilds reported from Tralles in Caria, six from Smyrna, one from Alexandria, and eleven from Hierapolis in Phrygia. On the other hand, in the city of Rome there were more than one hundred, in Brixia (modern Brescia) seventeen or more, in Lugudunum (Lyons) twenty at least, and in Canabæ, in the province of Dacia, five. These figures, taken at random for some of the larger towns in different parts of the Empire, bring out the fact very clearly that the western and northern provinces readily accepted Roman ideas and showed the Roman spirit, as illustrated in their ability and willingness to co-operate for a common purpose, but that the Greek East was never Romanized. Even in the settlements in Dacia, which continued under Roman rule only from 107 to 270 A.D., we find as many trades-unions as existed in Greek towns which were held by the Romans for three or four centuries. The comparative number of guilds and of guild inscriptions would, in fact, furnish us with a rough test of the extent to which Rome impressed her civilization on different parts of the Empire, even if we had no other criteria. We should know, for instance, that less progress had been made in Britain than in Southern Gaul, that Salona in Dalmatia, Lugudunum in Gaul, and Mogontiacum (Mainz) in Germany were important centres of Roman civilization. It is, of course, possible from a study of these inscriptions to make out the most flourishing industries in the several towns, but with that we are not concerned here.

These guilds which we have been considering were trades-unions in the sense that they were organizations made up of men working in the same trade, but they differed from modern unions, and also from mediaeval guilds, in the objects for which they were formed. They made no attempt to raise wages, to improve working conditions, to limit the number of apprentices, to develop skill and artistic taste in the craft, or to better the social or political position of the laborer. It was the need which their members felt for companionship, sympathy, and help in the emergencies of life, and the desire to give more meaning to their lives, that drew them together. These motives explain the provisions made for social gatherings, and for the burial of members, which were the characteristic features of most of the organizations. It is the social side, for instance, which is indicated on a tombstone, found in a little town of central Italy. After giving the name of the deceased, it reads: "He bequeathed to his guild, the rag-dealers, a thousand sesterces, from the income of which each year, on the festival of the Parentalia, not less than twelve men shall dine at his tomb."108  Another in northern Italy reads: "To Publius Etereius Quadratus, the son of Publius, of the Tribus Quirina, Etereia Aristolais, his mother, has set up a statue, at whose dedication she gave the customary banquet to the union of rag-dealers, and also a sum of money, from the income of which annually, from this time forth, on the birthday of Quadratus, April 9, where his remains have been laid, they should make a sacrifice, and should hold the customary banquet in the temple, and should bring roses in their season and cover and crown the statue; which thing they have undertaken to do."109  The menu of one of these dinners given in Dacia 110  has come down to us. It includes lamb and pork, bread, salad, onions, and two kinds of wine. The cost of the entertainment amounted to one hundred and sixty-nine denarii, or about twenty-seven dollars, a sum which would probably have a purchasing value to-day of from three to four times that amount.

The "temple" or chapel referred to in these inscriptions was usually semicircular, and may have served as a model for the Christian oratories. The building usually stood in a little grove, and, with its accommodations for official meetings and dinners, served the same purpose as a modern club-house. Besides the special gatherings for which some deceased member or some rich patron provided, the guild met at fixed times during the year to dine or for other social purposes. The income of the society, which was made up of the initiation fees and monthly dues of the members, and of donations, was supplemented now and then by a system of fines. At least, in an African inscription we read: "In the Curia of Jove. Done November 27, in the consulship of Maternus and Atticus.... If any one shall wish to be a flamen, he shall give three amphorae of wine, besides bread and salt and provisions. If any one shall wish to be a magister, he shall give two amphorae of wine.... If any one shall have spoken disrespectfully to a flamen, or laid hands upon him, he shall pay two denarii.... If any one shall have gone to fetch wine, and shall have made away with it, he shall give double the amount."111

The provision which burial societies made for their members is illustrated by the following epitaph:

"To the shade of Gaius Julius Filetio, born in Africa, a physician, who lived thirty-five years. Gaius Julius Filetus and Julia Euthenia, his parents, have erected it to their very dear son. Also to Julius Athenodorus, his brother, who lived thirty-five years. Euthenia set it up. He has been placed here, to whose burial the guild of rag-dealers has contributed three hundred denarii."112 People of all ages have craved a respectable burial, and the pathetic picture which Horace gives us in one of his Satires of the fate which befell the poor and friendless at the end of life, may well have led men of that class to make provisions which would protect them from such an experience, and it was not an unnatural thing for these organizations to be made up of men working in the same trade. The statutes of several guilds have come down to us. One found at Lanuvium has articles dealing particularly with burial regulations. They read in part:113

"It has pleased the members, that whoever shall wish to join this guild shall pay an initiation fee of one hundred sesterces, and an amphora of good wine, as well as five asses  a month. Voted likewise, that if any man shall not have paid his dues for six consecutive months, and if the lot common to all men has befallen him, his claim to a burial shall not be considered, even if he shall have so stipulated in his will. Voted likewise, that if any man from this body of ours, having paid his dues, shall depart, there shall come to him from the treasury three hundred sesterces, from which sum fifty sesterces, which shall be divided at the funeral pyre, shall go for the funeral rites. Furthermore, the obsequies shall be performed on foot."

Besides the need of comradeship, and the desire to provide for a respectable burial, we can see another motive which brought the weak and lowly together in these associations. They were oppressed by the sense of their own insignificance in society, and by the pitifully small part which they played in the affairs of the world. But if they could establish a society of their own, with concerns peculiar to itself which they would administer, and if they could create positions of honor and importance in this organization, even the lowliest man in Rome would have a chance to satisfy that craving to exercise power over others which all of us feel, to hold titles and distinctions, and to wear the insignia of office and rank. This motive worked itself out in the establishment of a complete hierarchy of offices, as we saw in part in an African inscription given above. The Roman state was reproduced in miniature in these societies, with their popular assemblies, and their officials, who bore the honorable titles of quæstor, curator, prætor, ædile, and so forth.

To read these twenty-five hundred or more inscriptions from all parts of the Empire brings us close to the heart of the common people. We see their little ambitions, their jealousies, their fears, their gratitude for kindness, their own kindliness, and their loyalty to their fellows. All of them are anxious to be remembered after death, and provide, when they can do so, for the celebration of their birthdays by members of the association. A guild inscription in Latium, for instance, reads:114  "Jan. 6, birthday of Publius Claudius Veratius Abascantianus, [who has contributed] 6,000 sesterces, [paying an annual interest of] 180 denarii." "Jan. 25, birthday of Gargilius Felix, [who has contributed] 2,000 sesterces, [paying an annual interest of] 60 denarii," and so on through the twelve months of the year.

It is not entirely clear why the guilds never tried to bring pressure to bear on their employers to raise wages, or to improve their position by means of the strike, or by other methods with which we are familiar to-day. Perhaps the difference between the ancient and modern methods of manufacture helps us to understand this fact. In modern times most articles can be made much more cheaply by machinery than by hand, and the use of water-power, of steam, and of electricity, and the invention of elaborate machines, has led us to bring together a great many workmen under one roof or in one factory. The men who are thus employed in a single establishment work under common conditions, suffer the same disadvantages, and are brought into such close relations with one another that common action to improve their lot is natural. In ancient times, as may be seen in the chapter on Diocletian's edict, machinery was almost unknown, and artisans worked singly in their own homes or in the houses of their employers, so that joint action to improve their condition would hardly be expected.

Another factor which should probably be taken into account is the influence of slavery. This institution did not play the important rôle under the Empire in depressing the free laborer which it is often supposed to have played, because it was steadily dying out; but an employer could always have recourse to slave labor to a limited extent, and the struggling freedmen who had just come up from slavery were not likely to urge very strongly their claims for consideration.

In this connection it is interesting to recall the fact that before slavery got a foothold in Rome, the masses in their struggle with the classes used what we think of to-day as the most modern weapon employed in industrial warfare. We can all remember the intense interest with which we watched the novel experience which St. Petersburg underwent some six years ago, when the general strike was instituted. And yet, if we accept tradition, that method of bringing the government and society to terms was used twice by the Roman proletariat over two thousand years ago. The plebeians, so the story goes, unable to get their economic and political rights, stopped work and withdrew from the city to the Sacred Mount. Their abstention from labor did not mean the going out of street lamps, the suspension of street-car traffic, and the closing of factories and shops, but, besides the loss of fighting men, it meant that no more shoes could be had, no more carpentry work done, and no more wine-jars made until concessions should be granted. But, having slaves to compete with it, and with conditions which made organization difficult, free labor could not hope to rise, and the unions could take no serious step toward the improvement of the condition of their members. The feeling of security on this score which society had, warranted the government in allowing even its own employees to organize, and we find unions of government clerks, messengers, and others. The Roman government was, therefore, never called upon to solve the grave political and economic questions which France and Italy have had to face in late years in the threatened strikes of the state railway and postal employees.

We have just been noticing how the ancient differed from the modern trades-union in the objects which it sought to obtain. The religious character which it took seems equally strange to us at first sight. Every guild put itself under the protection of some deity and was closely associated with a cult. Silvanus, the god of the woods, was a natural favorite with the carpenters, Father Bacchus with the innkeepers, Vesta with the bakers, and Diana with those who hunted wild animals for the circus. The reason for the choice of certain other divine patrons is not so clear. Why the cabmen of Tibur, for instance, picked out Hercules as their tutelary deity, unless, like Horace in his Satires, the ancient cabman thought of him as the god of treasure-trove, and, therefore, likely to inspire the giving of generous tips, we cannot guess. The religious side of Roman trade associations will not surprise us when we recall the strong religious bent of the Roman character, and when we remember that no body of Romans would have thought of forming any kind of an organization without securing the sanction and protection of the gods. The family, the clan, the state all had their protecting deities, to whom appropriate rites were paid on stated occasions. Speaking of the religious side of these trade organizations naturally reminds one of the religious associations which sprang up in such large numbers toward the end of the republican period and under the Empire. They lie outside the scope of this chapter, but, in the light of the issue which has arisen in recent years between religious associations and the governments of Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, it is interesting to notice in passing that the Roman state strove to hold in check many of the ancient religious associations, but not always with much success. As we have noticed, its attitude toward the trade-guilds was not unfriendly. In the last days of the Republic, however, they began to enter politics, and were used very effectively in the elections by political leaders in both parties.115  In fact the fortunes of the city seemed likely to be controlled by political clubs, until severe legislation and the transfer of the elections in the early Empire from the popular assemblies to the senate put an end to the use of trade associations for political purposes. It was in the light of this development that the government henceforth required all newly formed trades-unions to secure official authorization.

The change in the attitude of the state toward these organizations, as time went on, has been traced by Liebenam in his study of Roman associations. The story of this change furnishes an interesting episode in the history of special privilege, and may not be without profit to us. The Roman government started with the assumption that the operation of these voluntary associations was a matter of public as well as of private concern, and could serve public interests. Therefore their members were to be exempted from some of the burdens which the ordinary citizen bore. It was this reasoning, for instance, which led Trajan to set the bakers free from certain charges, and which influ enced Hadrian to grant the same favors to those associations of skippers which supplied Rome with food. In the light of our present-day discussion it is interesting also to find that Marcus Aurelius granted them the right to manumit slaves and receive legacies—that is, he made them juridical persons. But if these associations were to be fostered by law, in proportion as they promoted the public welfare, it also followed logically that the state could put a restraining hand upon them when their development failed to serve public interests in the highest degree. Following this logical sequence, the Emperor Claudius, in his efforts to promote a more wholesome home life, or for some other reason not known to us, forbade the eating-houses or the delicatessen shops to sell cooked meats or warm water. Antoninus Pius, in his paternal care for the unions, prescribed an age test and a physical test for those who wished to become members. Later, under the law a man was allowed to join one guild only. Such a legal provision as this was a natural concomitant of the concession of privileges to the unions. If the members of these organizations were to receive special favors from the state, the state must see to it that the rolls were not padded. It must, in fact, have the right of final supervision of the list of members. So long as industry flourished, and so long as the population increased, or at least remained stationary, this oversight by the government brought no appreciable ill results. But when financial conditions grew steadily worse, when large tracts of land passed out of cultivation and the population rapidly dwindled, the numbers in the trades-unions began to decline. The public services, constantly growing heavier, which the state required of the guilds in return for their privileges made the loss of members still greater. This movement threatened the industrial interests of the Empire and must be checked at all hazards. Consequently, taking another logical step in the way of government regulation in the interests of the public, the state forbade men to withdraw from the unions, and made membership in a union hereditary. Henceforth the carpenter must always remain a carpenter, the weaver a weaver, and the sons and grandsons of the carpenter and the weaver must take up the occupation of their fathers, and a man is bound forever to his trade as the serf is to the soil.

101. 23:48 f.

102. Cic., ad Att., 5.21. 10-13; 6.1. 5-7; 6.2.7; 6.3.5.

103. 6.17.

104. Captivi, 489 ff.

105. Livy, 38. 35.

106. Plautus, Pseudolus, 189.

107. Some of the most important discussions of workmen's guilds among the Romans are to be found in Waltzing's Etude historique sur les corporations professionnelles chez les Romains, 3 vols., Louvain, 1895-9; Liebenam's Zur Geschichte und Organisation des römischen Vereinswesen, Leipzig, 1890; Ziebarth's Das Griechische Vereinswesen, Leipzig, 1896, pp. 96-110; Kornemann's article, "Collegium," in the Pauly-Wissowa Real Encyclopadie. Other literature is cited by Waltzing, I, pp. 17-30, and by Kornemann, IV, columns 479-480.

108. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, XI, 5047.

109. Ibid., V, 7906.

110. Ibid., III, p. 953.

111. Ibid., VIII, 14683.

112. Ibid., III, 3583.

113. Ibid., XIV, 2112.

114. Ibid., XIV, 326.

115. E.g., Clodius and Milo.