( 89-62 BC )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 64-65, n. 63


     Tarentum, once a flourishing Greek city in southern Italy, suffered many vicissitudes under the hegemony of Rome. When the Appian Way was completed to Brundisium (after 244 B.C.) Tarentum ceased to be an important port for Mediterranean trade and rapidly decayed. Gaius Gracchus established a colony there and renamed it Neptunia (123 B.C.), but this foundation evidently did not prosper. In this document the old name Tarentum reappears and throughout it is called a municipality without any indication of colonial status. However, at the beginning of the second paragraph it would appear that the municipality was being supplemented by new settlers, perhaps a contingent of veterans, who apparently elected their magistrates before coming to their new home. The charter is a lex data (administrative decree), that is, a law or charter drawn by some official, duly appointed by the Roman Assembly to lead a colony or to draft a charter.
     Since much in this charter resembles Caesar's municipal legislation, it is not impossible that it was drafted by or under his direction (E. G. Hardy, Six Roman Laws [Oxford 1911], 102, 163 n.). Hardy says that the suggested dates for the document range from 89 to 45 B.C.
     This charter was engraved on bronze tablets, each containing two columns. Of these only the first column of the ninth tablet and a few letters from the beginning of lines in the second column are preserved. The inscription was found in 1894 at Tarentum, the modern Taranto, Italy.


     Ninth tablet.
     1. . . . nor may it be lawful to be so, nor shall anyone embezzle or divert any of the funds of this municipality, whether they be public funds, temple funds, or consecrated monies. Nor shall anyone contrive that such frauds occur. Nor shall anyone impair maliciously public revenues by falsifying official records. If anyone does any of the aforesaid acts he shall be liable to a penalty of fourfold the amount, payable to the municipality. Any magistrate of the municipality shall have the right to sue for and to exact this sum.
     2. The first of the quattuorvirs and the aediles elected by this law to come to Tarentum, within twenty days immediately following his arrival at Tarentum subsequent to the granting of this charter, shall provide that his surety shall furnish to the other quattuorvirs sufficient sureties and securities that whatever funds, either of the municipality or of the temples or of consecrated money, have come into his hands during his term of office, the same shall be secured to the municipality of Tarentum, and that he shall render an account thereof as the Senate has decreed. The quattuorvir, to whom surety thus is offered, shall accept it and shall provide that entry shall be made in the official records. And whenever any magistrate holds elections for duumvirs or aediles, before the majority of the curias declare their vote in favor of any candidate for office at such elections, he shall accept sufficient sureties from the candidates that whatever funds, either of the municipality or of the temples or of consecrated money, have come into their hands during their term of office, the same shall be secured to the municipality of Tarentum, and that they shall render an account thereof as the Senate has decreed. He shall provide that this security shall be entered in the official records. If any business is given publicly to anyone by a resolution of the Senate or if anyone transacts any public business and pays or collects public funds in connection therewith, to whomsoever the business is given or whoever transacts any business officially and pays or collects public funds, he shall render an account thereof to the Senate and shall report without fraudulent intent within ten days immediately following the decree of the municipal Senate.
     3. Whoever is a member of the municipal Senate of Tarentum or whoever gives his vote in the Senate in the municipality of Tarentum shall own without malicious deception a dwelling roofed with at least I,500 tiles within the town of Tarentum or within the territory of that municipality. If any senator does not own such a house of his own, or if anyone of them purchases such a house or acquires possession thereof in such a way as to evade this law, he shall be liable to a penalty of 5,000 sesterces for each year to the municipality of Tarentum.
     4. No one shall unroof or demolish or dismantle a dwelling in the town of that municipality except with the authority of the Senate, unless he rebuilds as good or better. If anyone acts contrary to this provision he shall be condemned to pay to the municipality the value of the building at that time, and whoever wishes shall have the right to sue for this money. The magistrate who exacts the penalty shall pay half into the public treasury and shall spend the other half on the public games, which he gives during his term of office, or he shall be permitted to use the latter for his public monument, if he so desires, and this he shall be permitted to do without prejudice to himself.
     5. If a quattuorvir, a duumvir, or an aedile desires to construct, to dig, to change, to build, or to pave roads, ditches, or sewers for the public welfare of this municipality and within its boundaries it shall be lawful for him to do so, provided that this work does not injure the property of private individuals.
     6. If any citizen wishes to depart from this municipality of Tarentum he shall be permitted to do so without personal risk, provided that he does not owe money to the municipality of Tarentum and was not duumvir or aedile during the six years prior to his departure . . .