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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


II. From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER II - The Tribunate of the Plebs and the Decemvirate


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Page 10

Secession to the Sacred Mount

The immediate crisis however proceeded not from those who felt the disabilities of their order, but from the distress of the farmers. The rectified annals place the political revolution in the year 244, the social in the years 259 and 260; they certainly appear to have followed close upon each other, but the interval was probably longer. The strict enforcement of the law of debt--so runs the story--excited the indignation of the farmers at large.

When in the year 259 the levy was called forth for a dangerous war, the men bound to serve refused to obey the command. Thereupon the consul Publius Servilius suspended for a time the application of the debtor-laws, and gave orders to liberate the persons already imprisoned for debt as well as prohibited further arrests; so that the farmers took their places in the ranks and helped to secure the victory. On their return from the field of battle the peace, which had been achieved by their exertions, brought back their prison and their chains: with merciless rigour the second consul, Appius Claudius, enforced the debtor-laws and his colleague, to whom his former soldiers appealed for aid, dared not offer opposition.

It seemed as if collegiate rule had been introduced not for the protection of the people, but to facilitate breach of faith and despotism; they endured, however, what could not be changed. But when in the following year the war was renewed, the word of the consul availed no longer.

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