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


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Under the vague category of offences against order men might include any accusations they pleased, and by the higher grades in the scale of fines they might accomplish whatever they desired. The dangerous character of such arbitrary procedure was brought to light rather than obviated by the mitigating proviso, that these property-fines, where they were not fixed by law at a definite sum, should not amount to half the estate belonging to the person fined.

To this class belonged the police-laws, which from the earliest times were especially abundant in the Roman community. Such were those enactments of the Twelve Tables, which prohibited the anointing of a dead body by persons hired for the purpose, the dressing it out with more than one cushion or more than three purple-edged coverings, the decorating it with gold or gaudy chaplets, the use of dressed wood for the funeral pile, and the perfuming or sprinkling of the pyre with frankincense or myrrh-wine; which limited the number of flute-players in the funeral procession to ten at most; and which forbade wailing women and funeral banquets--in a certain measure the earliest Roman legislation against luxury.

Such also were the laws--originating in the conflicts of the orders--directed against usury as well as against an undue use of the common pasture and a disproportionate appropriation of the occupiable domain-land. But far more fraught with danger than these and similar fining-laws, which at any rate formulated once for all the trespass and often also the measure of punishment, was the general prerogative of every magistrate who exercised jurisdiction to inflict a fine for an offence against order, and, if the fine reached the amount necessary to found an appeal and the person fined did not submit to the penalty, to bring the case before the community.

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