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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 52

So long as Appius Claudius took an active part in public life, in his official conduct as well as his general carriage he disregarded laws and customs on all hands with the hardihood and sauciness of an Athenian; till, after having long retired from the political stage, the blind old man, returning as it were from the tomb at the decisive Moment, overcame king Pyrrhus in the senate, and first formally and solemnly proclaimed the complete sovereignty of Rome over Italy.(53)

53. Cf. II. VII. Attempts at Peace

But the gifted man came too early or too late; the gods made him blind on account of his untimely wisdom. It was not individual genius that ruled in Rome and through Rome in Italy; it was the one immoveable idea of a policy--propagated from generation to generation in the senate--with the leading maxims of which the sons of the senators became already imbued, when in the company of their fathers they went to the council and there at the door of the hall listened to the wisdom of the men whose seats they were destined at some future time to fill.

Immense successes were thus obtained at an immense price; for Nike too is followed by her Nemesis. In the Roman commonwealth there was no special dependence on any one man, either on soldier or on general, and under the rigid discipline of its moral police all the idiosyncrasies of human character were extinguished. Rome reached a greatness such as no other state of antiquity attained; but she dearly purchased her greatness at the sacrifice of the graceful variety, of the easy abandon and of the inward freedom of Greek life.

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