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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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Page 33

Capital in Rome

No urban middle class in the proper sense of that term, no body of independent tradesmen and merchants, was ever developed in Rome. The cause of this was--in addition to the disproportionate centralization of capital which occurred at an early period--mainly the employment of slave labour. It was usual in antiquity, and was in fact a necessary consequence of slavery, that the minor trades in towns were very frequently carried on by slaves, whom their master established as artisans or merchants; or by freedmen, in whose case the master not only frequently furnished the capital, but also regularly stipulated for a share, often the half, of the profits.

Retail trading and dealing in Rome were undoubtedly constantly on the increase; and there are proofs that the trades which minister to the luxury of great cities began to be concentrated in Rome--the Ficoroni casket for instance was designed in the fifth century of the city by a Praenestine artist and was sold to Praeneste, but was nevertheless manufactured in Rome.(33)

33. The conjecture that Novius Flautius, the artist who worked at this casket for Dindia Macolnia, in Rome, may have been a Campanian, is refuted by the old Praenestine tomb-stones recently discovered, on which, among other Macolnii and Plautii, there occurs also a Lucius Magulnius, son of Haulms (L. Magolnio Pla. f.).

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