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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


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

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 VI - The War under Hannibal from Cannae to Zama


The Original Greek New Testament

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Page 66

Pressure of the War

It was now the eleventh year of the war. The danger which some years before had threatened the very existence of the state seemed to have vanished; but all the more the Romans felt the heavy burden--a burden pressing more severely year after year--of the endless war. The finances of the state suffered beyond measure. After the battle of Cannae (538) a special bank-commission (-tres viri mensarii-) had been appointed, composed of men held in the highest esteem, to form a permanent and circumspect board of superintendence for the public finances in these difficult times.

It may have done what it could; but the state of things was such as to baffle all financial sagacity. At the very beginning of the war the Romans had debased the silver and copper coin, raised the legal value of the silver piece more than a third, and issued a gold coin far above the value of the metal. This very soon proved insufficient; they were obliged to take supplies from the contractors on credit, and connived at their conduct because they needed them, till the scandalous malversation at last induced the aediles to make an example of some of the worst by impeaching them before the people.

Appeals were often made, and not in vain, to the patriotism of the wealthy, who were in fact the very persons that suffered comparatively the most. The soldiers of the better classes and the subaltern officers and equites in a body, either voluntarily or constrained by the -esprit de corps-, declined to receive pay. The owners of the slaves armed by the state and manumitted after the engagement at Beneventum(3) replied to the bank-commission, which offered them payment, that they would allow it to stand over to the end of the war (540).

3. Cf. III. VI. Conflicts in the South of Italy

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