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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 49

Rome and the Romans of This Epoch

When the two great nations, both arrived at the height of their development, began to mingle in hostile or in friendly contact, their antagonism of character was at the same time prominently and fully brought out--the total want of individuality in the Italian and especially in the Roman character, as contrasted with the boundless variety, lineal, local, and personal, of Hellenism. There was no epoch of mightier vigour in the history of Rome than the epoch from the institution of the republic to the subjugation of Italy.

That epoch laid the foundations of the commonwealth both within and without; it created a united Italy; it gave birth to the traditional groundwork of the national law and of the national history; it originated the -pilum- and the maniple, the construction of roads and of aqueducts, the farming of estates and the monetary system; it moulded the she-wolf of the Capitol and designed the Ficoroni casket. But the individuals, who contributed the several stones to this gigantic structure and cemented them together, have disappeared without leaving a trace, and the nations of Italy did not merge into that of Rome more completely than the single Roman burgess merged in the Roman community.

As the grave closes alike over all whether important or insignificant, so in the roll of the Roman burgomasters the empty scion of nobility stands undistinguishable by the side of the great statesman. Of the few records that have reached us from this period none is more venerable, and none at the same time more characteristic, than the epitaph of Lucius Cornelius Scipio, who was consul in 456, and three years afterwards took part in the decisive battle of Sentinum.(49) On the beautiful sarcophagus, in noble Doric style, which eighty years ago still enclosed the dust of the conqueror of the Samnites, the following sentence is inscribed:--

49. Cf. II. VI. Battle of Sentinum

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