Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

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 XI - The Government and the Governed


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 28

The general financial result is most clearly exhibited to us by the state of the public buildings, and by the amount of cash in the treasury. We find in times of peace a fifth, in times of war a tenth, of the revenues expended on public buildings; which, in the circumstances, does not seem to have been a very copious outlay. With these sums, as well as with fines which were not directly payable into the treasury, much was doubtless done for the repair of the highways in and near the capital, for the formation of the chief Italian roads,(23) and for the construction of public buildings.

23. The expenses of these were, however, probably thrown in great part on the adjoining inhabitants. The old system of making requisitions of task-work was not abolished: it must not unfrequently have happened that the slaves of the landholders were called away to be employed in the construction of roads. (Cato, de R. R. 2 )

Perhaps the most important of the building operations in the capital, known to belong to this period, was the great repair and extension of the network of sewers throughout the city, contracted for probably in 570, for which 24,000,000 sesterces (240,000 pounds) were set apart at once, and to which it may be presumed that the portions of the -cloacae- still extant, at least in the main, belong. To all appearance however, even apart from the severe pressure of war, this period was inferior to the last section of the preceding epoch in respect of public buildings; between 482 and 607 no new aqueduct was constructed at Rome.

The treasure of the state, no doubt, increased; the last reserve in 545, when: they found themselves under the necessity of laying hands on it, amounted only to 164,000 pounds (4000 pounds of gold);(24) whereas a short time after the close of this period (597) close on 860,000 pounds in precious metals were stored in the treasury. But, when we take into account the enormous extraordinary revenues which in the generation after the close of the Hannibalic war came into the Roman treasury, the latter sum surprises us rather by its smallness than by its magnitude.

24. Cf. III. VI. Pressure of the War

So far as with the extremely meagre statements before us it is allowable to speak of results, the finances of the Roman state exhibit doubtless an excess of income over expenditure, but are far from presenting a brilliant result as a whole.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :