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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 23

It is true that these same Penates might not at all be seen by any one for centuries afterwards; but Timaeus was one of the historians who upon no matter are so fully informed as upon things unknowable. It is not without reason that Polybius, who knew the man, advises that he should in no case be trusted, and least of all where, as in this instance, he appeals to documentary proofs.

In fact the Sicilian rhetorician, who professed to point out the grave of Thucydides in Italy, and who found no higher praise for Alexander than that he had finished the conquest of Asia sooner than Isocrates finished his "Panegyric," was exactly the man to knead the naive fictions of the earlier time into that confused medley on which the play of accident has conferred so singular a celebrity.

How far the Greek play of fable regarding Italian matters, as it in the first instance arose in Sicily, gained admission during this period even in Italy itself, cannot be ascertained with precision. Those links of connection with the Odyssean cycle, which we subsequently meet with in the legends of the foundation of Tusculum, Praeneste, Antium, Ardea, and Cortona, must probably have been already concocted at this period; and even the belief in the descent of the Romans from Trojan men or Trojan women must have been established at the close of this epoch in Rome, for the first demonstrable contact between Rome and the Greek east is the intercession of the senate on behalf of the "kindre" Ilians in 472.

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