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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 X - The Third Macedonian War


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Page 54

The Italian and Extra-Italian Policy of Rome

If, in conclusion, we glance back at the career of Rome from the union of Italy to the dismemberment of Macedonia, the universal empire of Rome, far from appearing as a gigantic plan contrived and carried out by an insatiable thirst for territorial aggrandizement, appears to have been a result which forced itself on the Roman government without, and even in opposition to, its wish.

It is true that the former view naturally suggests itself--Sallust is right when he makes Mithradates say that the wars of Rome with tribes, cities, and kings originated in one and the same prime cause, the insatiable longing after dominion and riches; but it is an error to give forth this judgment--influenced by passion and the event--as a historical fact.

It is evident to every one whose observation is not superficial, that the Roman government during this whole period wished and desired nothing but the sovereignty of Italy; that they were simply desirous not to have too powerful neighbours alongside of them; and that--not out of humanity towards the vanquished, but from the very sound view that they ought not to suffer the kernel of their empire to be stifled by the shell--they earnestly opposed the introduction first of Africa, then of Greece, and lastly of Asia into the sphere of the Roman protectorate, till circumstances in each case compelled, or at least suggested with irresistible force, the extension of that sphere.

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