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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 III - The Equalization of the Orders, and the New Aristocracy


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Union of the Plebians ||| Throwing Open of Marriage and of Magistracies - Military Tribunes with Consular Powers ||| Opposition of the Patriciate ||| Their Expedients ||| Subdivision of the Magistracy - Censorship ||| Quaestorship ||| Attempts at Counterrevolution ||| Intrigues of the Nobility ||| The Suffering Farmers ||| Combination of the Plebian Aristocracy and the Farmers against the Nobility - Licinio-Sextian Laws ||| Political Abolition of the Patriciate ||| Praetorship - Curule Aedileship - Complete Opening Up of Magistracies and Priesthoods ||| Equivalence of Law and Plebiscitum ||| The Later Patricianism ||| The Social Distress, and the Attempt to Relieve It ||| The Licinian Agrarian Laws ||| Laws Imposing Taxes - Laws of Credit ||| Continued Distress ||| Influence of the Extension of the Roman Dominion in Elevating the Farmer-Class ||| Civic Equality ||| New Aristocracy ||| New Opposition ||| The New Government ||| The Burgess-Body - Its Composition ||| Increasing Powers of the Burgesses ||| Decreasing Importance of the Burgess-Body ||| The Magistrates. Partition and Weakening of the Consular Powers ||| Limitation of the Dictatorship ||| Restriction as to the Accumulation and the Reoccupation of Offices ||| The Tribunate of the People as an Instrument of Government ||| The Senate. Its Composition ||| Powers of the Senate - Its Influence in Legislation ||| Influence on the Elections ||| Senatorial Government

Union of the Plebians

The tribunician movements appear to have mainly originated in social rather than political discontent, and there is good reason to suppose that some of the wealthy plebeians admitted to the senate were no less opposed to these movements than the patricians. For they too benefited by the privileges against which the agitation was mainly directed; and although in other respects they found themselves treated as inferior, it probably seemed to them by no means an appropriate time for asserting their claim to participate in the magistracies, when the exclusive financial power of the whole senate was assailed. This explains why during the first fifty years of the republic no step was taken aiming directly at the political equalization of the orders.

But this league between the patricians and the wealthy plebeians by no means bore within itself any guarantee of permanence. Beyond doubt from the very first a portion of the leading plebeian families had attached themselves to the movement-party, partly from a sense of what was due to the fellow-members of their order, partly in consequence of the natural bond which unites all who are treated as inferior, and partly because they perceived that concessions to the multitude were inevitable in the issue, and that, if turned to due account, they would result in the abrogation of the exclusive rights of the patriciate and would thereby give to the plebeian aristocracy a decisive preponderance in the state.

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