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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 VIII - Law, Religion, Military System, Economic Condition, Nationality


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Page 24

National Economy-- The Farmers-- Farming of Estates

In the national economy agriculture was, and continued to be, the social and political basis both of the Roman community and of the new Italian state. The common assembly and the army consisted of Roman farmers; what as soldiers they had acquired by the sword, they secured as colonists by the plough. The insolvency of the middle class of landholders gave rise to the formidable internal crises of the third and fourth centuries, amidst which it seemed as if the young republic could not but be destroyed.

The revival of the Latin farmer-class, which was produced during the fifth century partly by the large assignations of land and incorporations, partly by the fall in the rate of interest and the increase of the Roman population, was at once the effect and the cause of the mighty development of Roman power. The acute soldier's eye of Pyrrhus justly discerned the cause of the political and military ascendency of the Romans in the flourishing condition of the Roman farms.

But the rise also of husbandry on a large scale among the Romans appears to fall within this period. In earlier times indeed there existed landed estates of--at least comparatively--large size; but their management was not farming on a large scale, it was simply a husbandry of numerous small parcels.(24)

24. Cf. I. XIII. Landed Proprietors

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