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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 IX - Art and Science


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Page 13

Family Pedigrees

Besides these official arrangements, meagrely planned and uncertainly handled, for commemorating past times and past events, there can scarcely have existed at this epoch any other records immediately serviceable for Roman history. Of private chronicles we find no trace. The leading houses, however, were careful to draw up genealogical tables, so important in a legal point of view, and to have the family pedigree painted for a perpetual memorial on the walls of the entrance-hall.

These lists, which at least named the magistracies held by the family, not only furnished a basis for family tradition, but doubtless at an early period had biographical notices attached to them. The memorial orations, which in Rome could not be omitted at the funeral of any person of quality, and were ordinarily pronounced by the nearest relative of the deceased, consisted essentially not merely in an enumeration of the virtues and excellencies of the dead, but also in a recital of the deeds and virtues of his ancestors; and so they were doubtless, even in the earliest times, transmitted traditionally from one generation to another.

Many a valuable notice may by this means have been preserved; but many a daring perversion and falsification also may have been in this way introduced into tradition.

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