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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 35

A revolution was fermenting in men's minds; and its outbreak was hastened by the unjust sentence pronounced by Appius in the process as to the freedom of the daughter of the centurion Lucius Verginius, the bride of the former tribune of the people Lucius Icilius--a sentence which wrested the maiden from her relatives with a view to make her non-free and beyond the pale of the law, and induced her father himself to plunge his knife into the heart of his daughter in the open Forum, to rescue her from certain shame.

While the people in amazement at the unprecedented deed surrounded the dead body of the fair maiden, the decemvir commanded his lictors to bring the father and then the bridegroom before his tribunal, in order to render to him, from whose decision there lay no appeal, immediate account for their rebellion against his authority. The cup was now full. Protected by the furious multitude, the father and the bridegroom of the maiden made their escape from the lictors of the despot, and while the senate trembled and wavered in Rome, the pair presented themselves, with numerous witnesses of the fearful deed, in the two camps.

The unparalleled tale was told; the eyes of all were opened to the gap which the absence of tribunician protection had made in the security of law; and what the fathers had done their sons repeated. Once more the armies abandoned their leaders: they marched in warlike order through the city, and proceeded once more to the Sacred Mount, where they again nominated their own tribunes. Still the decemvirs refused to lay down their power; then the army with its tribunes appeared in the city, and encamped on the Aventine.

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