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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 13

The Suffering Farmers

During these political struggles social questions had lain on the whole dormant, or were discussed at any rate with less energy. After the plebeian aristocracy had gained possession of the tribunate for its own ends, no serious notice was taken either of the question of the domains or of a reform in the system of credit; although there was no lack either of newly acquired lands or of impoverished or decaying farmers.

Instances indeed of assignations took place, particularly in the recently conquered border-territories, such as those of the domain of Ardea in 312, of Labici in 336, and of Veii in 361--more however on military grounds than for the relief of the farmer, and by no means to an adequate extent. Individual tribunes doubtless attempted to revive the law of Cassius--for instance Spurius Maecilius and Spurius Metilius instituted in the year 337 a proposal for the distribution of the whole state-lands--but they were thwarted, in a manner characteristic of the existing state of parties, by the opposition of their own colleagues or in other words of the plebeian aristocracy.

Some of the patricians also attempted to remedy the common distress; but with no better success than had formerly attended Spurius Cassius. A patrician like Cassius and like him distinguished by military renown and personal valour, Marcus Manlius, the saviour of the Capitol during the Gallic siege, is said to have come forward as the champion of the oppressed people, with whom he was connected by the ties of comradeship in war and of bitter hatred towards his rival, the celebrated general and leader of the optimate party, Marcus Furius Camillus.

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