( 183-103 BC )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 30-31, n. 31


     This document contains several provisions relating to the government of the town of Bantia in Lucania, Italy. It includes articles defining the duties of officials, establishing a proper order of offices, regulating the census, and especially protecting the citizenry in respect to criminal trials.
     The charter is inscribed on a bronze tablet, found near Bantia in 1790, and is written in Oscan. There is no internal evidence to determine the document's date, if it was the product of local development, and if the pattern of Roman institutions influenced it only in a minor or casual way. The tablet's other side bas a fragment of a Roman law, but there is no absolute criterion to determine which law is earlier. If the document was not a local development and if it was issued from Rome on Roman models, then it appears that the course of offices ( cursus honorum ) prescribed in the sixth section was modeled on the Villian Law, which regulated minimal ages for and intervals between magistracies in Rome. This implies a date soon after 174 B.C. The curious limitation on the veto power in the first section, where the official interposing his veto on the popular Assembly ( comitia ) does so only with the Senate's approval, seems to date the document in the period of Sulla ( 82-80 B.C. ). On the other hand, Sulla's hostility toward the plebeian tribunes at Rome makes it unlikely that he would have provided for such officials in this Lucanian town. However, if the Latin inscription on the other side is actually part of the Appuleian Law ( ca. 103 B.C. ) and the charter is later than the Latin inscription, as Buck suggests, it must fall in the Sullan period, the only period after the Appuleian Law when this restriction on the veto power is possible.
     Beginning and end have been lost. Buck's text and interpretation have been followed in this translation.

I.   I.
si . . . quaestor multam proposuerit . . . ( 25-30 ) . . . iurabit de maximae senatus partis sententia, dum ne minus quam XL adsint, cum ea res consulta erit. Si quis inhibuerit, priusquam inhibuerit, iurato sciens in comitio sine dolo malo se ea comitia magis rei publicae causa quam ullius gratiae aut inimicitiae causa et id se de senatus maximae partis sententia inhibere. Cui sic comitia inhibebit, is eo die comitia ne habuerit.
. . . If a quaestor imposes a fine . . . he shall take oath that he is acting in accordance with the majority of the Senate, provided that no less than forty are present when the Senate is consulted on this question.
If anyone interposes a veto upon an Assembly, before doing so, he shall swear without conscious and fraudulent intent at the place of assembly that he interposes his veto on this Assembly not for any favor or private enmity toward anyone, but for the sake of the commonweal, and that he does so in accordance with the majority vote of the Senate. If the presiding magistrate is thus prevented from holding the Assembly, on that day he shall not hold an Assembly.
II.   II.
Qui quandoque post hac comitia habebit magistratus de capite vel in pecunias, facito ut populus iurati sententiam dicant se de iis ( sc. rebus ) id sententiae dicere quod optimum publicum videatur esse neve fecerit quo quis de ea re minus iuret dolo malo. Si quis contra hoc fecerit aut comitia habuerit, multa tanta esto : n(ummorum) MM et si quis eum fortius magistratus multare volet dumtaxat minoris partis pecuniae multae multare liceto.
If hereafter any magistrate holds a meeting of the Assembly for an action involving the death penalty or a fine he shall provide that the people shall pronounce judgment, after they have sworn that on these questions they will vote what they deem to be best for the State, and he shall provide that no one shall swear with malicious intent in regard to this matter. If anyone acts or holds an Assembly contrary to this law the fine shall be 2,000 sesterces. If any magistrate desires to fine him more severely he shall be permitted to do so, provided that the amount of the fine is less than half of the offender's personal property.
Si quis pro magisterio alteri capitis vel pecuniae diem dixerit is comitia ne habuerit nisi apud populum quater oraverit sciens sine dolo malo et definitum diem populus perceperit. Quater neque magis quinquies cum reo agito priusquam iudicationem dabit et cum postremum cum reo oraverit ab eo die ( ad ) diem XXX proximum comitia ne habuerit. Si quis contra hoc fecerit eum si quis volet magistratus multare liceto dumtaxat minoris partis pecuniae liceto.
If anyone, acting as promagistrate, sets a day for an action involving the death penalty or the fine of another, he shall not hold an Assembly for this purpose, until he has presented the case to the people four times without conscious and fraudulent intent and the people have had notice of the fourth day. Four times and not more than five he shall plead with the defendant, before he grants a public trial, and, when he has pleaded with the defendant for the last time, he shall not hold the Assembly until thirty days have elapsed. If anyone acts contrary to this law, any magistrate so minded shall be empowered to impose a fine, provided that the amount of the fine is less than half of the offender's personal property.
IV.   IV.
Cum censores Bantiae populum censebunt, qui civis Bantimus erit, censetor ipse et pecuniam qua lege ii censores censere proposuerint. At si quis in censum non venerit dolo malo et eius vincitur, ipse in comitio venum detur pro magisterio populo praesente sine dolo malo et inmercato. Tota familia et pecunia omnino quae eius erit, quae incensa erit, publica esto.
When the censors hold a census of the people of Bantia, whoever is a citizen of Bantia shall be rated, himself and his personal property, under whatever law the censors propose for the taking of the census. But whoever with malicious intent does not present himself for the census and is convicted thereof, he himself shall be beaten in the Comitium by the authority of the praetor in the presence of the people and without malicious intent, and all the rest of his estate, real and personal, which was not declared in the census, shall be entirely confiscated to the State without any remuneration.
V.   V.
Praetor sive praefectus qui post hac Bantiae erit si quis apud eos cum altero lege agere volet aut pro iudicato manum asserere earum rerum, quae iis legibus scriptae sunt, ne quem prohibuerit magis diebus X proximis. Si quis contra hoc prohibuerit, multa tanta esto : n(ummorum) M et si quis eum fortius magistratus multare uolet, liceto dumtaxat minoris partis pecuniae multae multare liceto.
Whoever hereafter is praetor or prefect at Bantia, in the case that anyone, appearing before him, wishes to bring suit against a defendant or to seize the person of the debtor in a judgment debt for those suits that are prescribed in these laws, he shall not restrain the plaintiff for more than the next ten days thereafter. If contrary to this law anyone restrains him the penalty shall be 1,000 sesterces. And if any magistrate wishes to do so, he shall be empowered to impose a fine, provided that the amount of the fine is less than half of the offender's personal property.
VI.   VI.
Praetor censor Bantiae ne quis fuerit nisi fuerit neve censor fuerit nisi praetor fuerit. Et si quis praetor et si quis censor et ibi quaestor quis ( ? ) . . . virorum fuerit, is postea tribunus plebis ne fuerit. Si quis contra hoc magistratus quandoque fuerit, is improbe factus esto. Is magistratum ab eo anno . . .
No one shall become praetor or censor at Bantia, unless he has been quaestor, nor shall he become censor, unless he has been praetor. And if anyone has been praetor or censor or quaestor or . . . enrolled among the nobility he shall not become thereafter a plebeian tribune. If anyone ever becomes plebeian tribune at Bantia contrary to this law, he shall be elected illegally.