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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 VII - Struggle between Pyrrhus and Rome, and Union of Italy


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Relations between the East and West ||| The Historical Position of Pyrrhus ||| Character and Earlier History of Pyrrhus ||| Rising of the Italians against Rome-- The Lucanians-- The Etruscans and Celts-- The Samnites-- The Senones Annihilated ||| The Boii ||| Breach between Rome and Tarentum ||| Attempts at Peace ||| Pyrrhus Summoned to Italy ||| Landing of Pyrrhus ||| Pyrrhus and the Coalition ||| Preparations in Rome-- Commencement of the Conflict in Lower Italy ||| Battle near Heraclea ||| Attempts at Peace ||| Pyrrhus Marches against Rome ||| Second Year of the War ||| Battle of Ausculum ||| Relations of Sicily, Syracuse, and Carthage-- Pyrrhus Invited to Syracuse ||| League between Rome and Carthage-- Third Year of the War ||| Embarkation of Pyrrhus for Sicily-- The War in Italy Flags ||| Pyrrhus Master of Sicily ||| The Sicilian Government of Pyrrhus ||| Departure of Pyrrhus to Italy ||| Fall of the Sicilian Kingdom-- Recommencement of the Italian War ||| Battle near Beneventum-- Pyrrhus Leaves Italy-- Death of Pyrrhus ||| Last Struggles in Italy-- Capture of Tarentum ||| Submission of Lower Italy ||| Construction of New Fortresses and Roads ||| Maritime Relations ||| Decline of the Roman Naval Power ||| Roman Fortification of the Coast ||| Quaestors of the Fleet-- Variance between Rome and Carthage ||| Rome and the Greek Naval Powers ||| The Full Roman Franchise ||| Subject Communities ||| Latins ||| Non-Latin Allied Communities ||| Dissolution of National Leagues-- Furnishing of Contingents ||| System of Government-- Division and Classification of the Subjects ||| Aristocratic Remodelling of the Constitutions of the Italian Communities ||| Moderation of the Government ||| Intermediate Functionaries-- Valuation of the Empire ||| Italy and the Italians ||| Earliest Boundaries of the Italian Confederacy ||| First Steps towards the Latinizing of Italy-- New Position of Rome as a Great Power

Relations between the East and West

After Rome had acquired the undisputed mastery of the world, the Greeks were wont to annoy their Roman masters by the assertion that Rome was indebted for her greatness to the fever of which Alexander of Macedonia died at Babylon on the 11th of June, 431. As it was not too agreeable for them to reflect on the actual past, they were fond of allowing their thoughts to dwell on what might have happened, had the great king turned his arms--as was said to have been his intention at the time of his death--towards the west and contested the Carthaginian supremacy by sea with his fleet, and the Roman supremacy by land with his phalanxes.

It is not impossible that Alexander may have cherished such thoughts; nor is it necessary to resort for an explanation of their origin to the mere difficulty which an autocrat, who is fond of war and is well provided with soldiers and ships, experiences in setting limits to his warlike career. It was an enterprise worthy of a Greek great king to protect the Siceliots against Carthage and the Tarentines against Rome, and to put an end to piracy on either sea; and the Italian embassies from the Bruttians, Lucanians, and Etruscans,(1) that along with numerous others made their appearance at Babylon, afforded him sufficient opportunities of becoming acquainted with the circumstances of the peninsula and of entering into relations with it.

1. The story that the Romans also sent envoys to Alexander at Babylon on the testimony of Clitarchus (Plin. Hist. Nat. iii. 5, 57), from whom the other authorities who mention this fact (Aristus and Asclepiades, ap. Arrian, vii. 15, 5; Memnon, c. 25) doubtless derived it. Clitarchus certainly was contemporary with these events; nevertheless, his Life of Alexander was decidedly a historical romance rather than a history; and, looking to the silence of the trustworthy biographers (Arrian, l. c.; Liv. ix. 18) and the utterly romantic details of the account--which represents the Romans, for instance, as delivering to Alexander a chaplet of gold, and the latter as prophesying the future greatness of Rome--we cannot but set down this story as one of the many embellishments which Clitarchus introduced into the history.

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