Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/145

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1922 137 Short Notices In his valuable study of La Loi de Hieron et les Remains (Paris : Boc- card, 1919) M. Jerome Carcopino has made a close examination of Cicero's third Verrine oration, which should be in the hands of all who are con- cerned with that speech or with the Roman tithe-system. M. Carcopino passes under review the whole of the literature bearing on the subject, and sets out in full the arguments of his predecessors on vexed questions, which adds to the value of his book. His reasone'd criticisms always repay study and generally carry conviction. He does not, however, seem to succeed in proving that the procedure of pignoris capio was completely obsolete in the time of Verres, or indeed later : in fact, the arguments by which he attempts to invalidate the evidence of the Lex Metalli Vipascensis are sophistical. One of the most interesting discus- sions in his essay is that devoted to the special and difficult case of the ager Leontinus ; it is suggested with much probability that its peculiar condition arose from the fact that it belonged to the domain of Hiero II. M. Carcopino accepts the view that Hiero borrowed the main features of his ordinance from the revenue law of Ptolemy Philadelphus : the limits of date are narrow on this theory, and in any case the Egyptian methods were modified in some respects. With regard to the circumstances and date of the transformation of the Sicilian decumae into a fixed stipen- dium, M. Carcopino seems to be clearly right : the process was une oeuvre d'assez longue haleine, and was brought to a close by Augustus in 36 B. c. A. Admirers of the historical method of Signer Ferrero will find much of interest in his last book, La Ruine de la Civilisation Antique (Paris : Plon-Nourrit, 1921), in which a parallel is drawn between the condition of Europe at the present day and that of the Roman world in the third and fourth centuries. Signer Ferrero considers that the various causes to which historians have attributed the downfall of ancient civilization can all be traced back to the absence of any recognized principle on which governments could base their authority. He holds that during the first and second centuries the authority of the emperors rested on their recogni- tion by the senate, and that the year 235 marks an epoch, as after that date this recognition was frequently dispensed with. The necessity of some principle other than mere force by which they would render their position legitimate was recognized by Aurelian and Diocletian, but their claim to divine right as representatives of Sol invictus was inconsistent with Christianity and thus could not be made by their Christian successors.