Full Version: A Class On Their Own
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In her paper: “On the Rise of Gaius Marius”,
Kathleen Toohey (footnote 9) writes: In a note to me, (Michael) Taylor has commented:
“On the Gellius passage, I am inclined to believe that AG is in fact confused, and that the capite censi and the proletarii are in fact one and the same. Gellius says that proletarii have less than 1500 asses while capite censi need less than 375. But 375 HS was 1500 asses, so it is not hard to see Gellius making an antiquarian error in creating two classes from one by mixing up his currency units.”
To determine if Gellius is confused, a little maths is required. The fiscal qualifications for the five property classes as given by Dionysius and Livy are detailed below:
                                                                                              Dionysius                       Livy
Class I               100,000 asses                100,000 asses
Class II                75,000 asses                  75,000 asses
Class III              50,000 asses                  50,000 asses
Class IV               25,000 asses                  25,000 asses
Class V                12,500 asses                  11,000 asses
Except for a difference of 1,500 asses for Class V, both historians are in agreement for Classes I to V. Now as Cicero and Aulus Gellius state the fiscal value of the proletarii amounted to 1,500 asses, by adding the 1,500 asses to Livy’s sum of 11,000 asses for Class V, Livy’s total for Class V increases to 12,500 asses now approximates with Dionysius’ figure of 12,500 asses. What has occurred here is Livy has incorrectly subtracted the 1,500 asses belonging to the capite censi from the proletarii.
What people have failed to understand is the maximum amount for Class V is 12, 500 asses and the minimum is 1,500 asses. Therefore, Cicero and Aulus Gellius are relating to the minimum fiscal value of the proletarii. The maximum for the capite censis is 1,500 asses and the minimum is 375 asses.

The other difference is Dionysius mentions six property classes and Livy five property classes. Class V are the proletarii and Class VI the capite censi. The capite censi are not levied en mass for the army, only the artificers attached to each legion. Therefore, the artificers belong to the capite censi.

The property wealth of the six classes has been modelled on the Pythagorean eleven sacred tetractys as detailed by Theon of Smyrna (Mathematics useful for reading Plato 3 38). A tetrad is an ensemble of four units (a quaternary) so the 1,500 asses of the capite censi divided by four = 4 units each of 375 asses. The fiscal system is divided into 11 tetrads, with Classes I to V each having two tetrads and Class VI, the capite censi having one tetrad. This is based on the Pythagorean notion that the number 11 equals 10+1 or 3+2 x2+1.
There is a lot more information in the primary sources to prove the capite censi are a separate class. Therefore, Gellius is not confused.