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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


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


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 37

The abolition of the passive burgesses cannot in itself be censured, and, so far as concerned the motive which led to it, belongs presumably to another connection to be discussed afterwards; but through its abolition an intermediate link was lost. Far more fraught with peril, however, was the disappearance of the distinction between the Latin and the other Italian communities.

The privileged position of the Latin nation within Italy was the foundation of the Roman power; that foundation gave way, when the Latin towns began to feel that they were no longer privileged partakers in the dominion of the powerful cognate community, but substantially subjects of Rome like the rest, and when all the Italians began to find their position equally intolerable.

It is true, that there were still distinctions: the Bruttians and their companions in misery were already treated exactly like slaves and conducted themselves accordingly, deserting, for instance, from the fleet in which they served as galley-slaves, whenever they could, and gladly taking service against Rome; and the Celtic, and above all the transmarine, subjects formed by the side of the Italians a class still more oppressed and intentionally abandoned by the government to contempt and maltreatment at the hands of the Italians. But such distinctions, while implying a gradation of classes among the subjects, could not withal afford even a remote compensation for the earlier contrast between the cognate, and the alien, Italian subjects.

A profound dissatisfaction prevailed through the whole Italian confederacy, and fear alone prevented it from finding loud expression. The proposal made in the senate after the battle at Cannae, to give the Roman franchise and a seat in the senate to two men from each Latin community, was made at an unseasonable time, and was rightly rejected; but it shows the apprehension with which men in the ruling community even then viewed the relations between Latium and Rome. Had a second Hannibal now carried the war to Italy, it may be doubted whether he would have again been thwarted by the steadfast resistance of the Latin name to a foreign domination.

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