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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 42

Control over the Governors - Supervision of the Senate over the Provinces and Their Governors

The government had no right to be surprised at such things, for it provided no serious check on the excesses of this capricious military administration. Judicial control, it is true, was not entirely wanting. Although, according to the universal but more than questionable rule of allowing no complaint to be brought against a commander-in-chief during his term of office,(35) the Roman governor could ordinarily be called to account only after the mischief had been done, yet he was amenable both to a criminal and to a civil prosecution.

35. Cf. II. I. Term of Office

In order to the institution of the former, a tribune of the people by virtue of the judicial power pertaining to him had to take the case in hand and bring it to the bar of the people; the civil action was remitted by the senator who administered the corresponding praetorship to a jury appointed, according to the constitution of the tribunal in those times, from the ranks of the senate. In both cases, therefore, the control lay in the hands of the ruling class, and, although the latter was still sufficiently upright and honourable not absolutely to set aside well-founded complaints, and the senate even in various instances, at the call of those aggrieved, condescended itself to order the institution of a civil process, yet the complaints of poor men and foreigners against powerful members of the ruling aristocracy--submitted to judges and jurymen far remote from the scene and, if not involved in the like guilt, at least belonging to the same order as the accused--could from the first only reckon on success in the event of the wrong being clear and crying; and to complain in vain was almost certain destruction.

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