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


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Page 11

Intrigues of the Nobility

Electioneering intrigues and priestly trickery proved in the hands of the nobility more efficient than any other weapons. The extent to which the former must have prevailed is best seen in the fact that in 322 it appeared necessary to issue a special law against electioneering practices, which of course was of little avail. When the voters could not be influenced by corruption or threatening, the presiding magistrates stretched their powers--admitting, for example, so many plebeian candidates that the votes of the opposition were thrown away amongst them, or omitting from the list of candidates those whom the majority were disposed to choose.

If in spite of all this an obnoxious election was carried, the priests were consulted whether no vitiating circumstance had occurred in the auspices or other religious ceremonies on the occasion; and some such flaw they seldom failed to discover. Taking no thought as to the consequences and unmindful of the wise example of their ancestors, the people allowed the principle to be established that the opinion of the skilled colleges of priests as to omens of birds, portents, and the like was legally binding on the magistrate, and thus put it into their power to cancel any state-act--whether the consecration of a temple or any other act of administration, whether law or election--on the ground of religious informality.

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