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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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The port-dues were reduced; when the price of grain was high, large quantities of corn were purchased on account of the state, and the trade in salt was made a state-monopoly, in order to supply the citizens with corn and salt at reasonable prices; lastly, the national festival was prolonged for an additional day. Of the same character was the ordinance which we have already mentioned respecting property fines,(1) which was not merely intended in general to set limits to the dangerous fining-prerogative of the magistrates, but was also, in a significant manner, calculated for the especial protection of the man of small means.

1. Cf. II. I. Right of Appeal

The magistrate was prohibited from fining the same man on the same day to an extent beyond two sheep or beyond thirty oxen, without granting leave to appeal; and the reason of these singular rates can only perhaps be found in the fact, that in the case of the man of small means possessing only a few sheep a different maximum appeared necessary from that fixed for the wealthy proprietor of herds of oxen --a considerate regard to the wealth or poverty of the person fined, from which modern legislators might take a lesson.

But these regulations were merely superficial; the main current flowed in the opposite direction. With the change in the constitution there was introduced a comprehensive revolution in the financial and economic relations of Rome, The government of the kings had probably abstained on principle from enhancing the power of capital, and had promoted as far as it could an increase in the number of farms. The new aristocratic government, again, appears to have aimed from the first at the destruction of the middle classes, particularly of the intermediate and smaller holdings of land, and at the development of a domination of landed and moneyed lords on the one hand, and of an agricultural proletariate on the other.

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