Factional Strife and the Road to Servitude

Livy, ab Urbe Condita 1.17:

“The struggle and desire for absolute power was exercising the minds of the senators, but this power was not granted to any individuals, because no one in the new state was greatly preeminent above the others. Therefore, the contest was waged among the classes through factional strife. Those who were born as Sabines, considering that they had not had a share in the throne following the death of Titus Tatius, wished that one of their own would be made king, so that they would not lose hold of power in the ostensibly equal society. The Romans, however, dismissed the idea of a foreign king. Yet, despite all of their varying desires, they wanted universally to be ruled by a king, because they had not yet tasted the sweet fruit of liberty. Fear then seized the senators that the state would lack government, the army would lack a general, and that some external force would threaten them, since so many of the neighboring peoples had been provoked to anger.”

Patrum interim animos certamen regni ac cupido versabat; necdum ad singulos, quia nemo magnopere eminebat in novo populo, pervenerat: factionibus inter ordines certabatur. Oriundi ab Sabinis, ne quia post Tati mortem ab sua parte non erat regnatum in societate aequa possessionem imperii amitterent, sui corporis creari regem volebant: Romani veteres peregrinum regem aspernabantur. In variis voluntatibus regnari tamen omnes volebant, libertatis dulcedine nondum experta. Timor deinde patres incessit ne civitatem sine imperio, exercitum sine duce, multarum circa civitatium inritatis animis, vis aliqua externa adoriretur.

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