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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 47

The Opposition

If the new nobility was less sharply defined than the old aristocracy of the clans, and if the encroachment on the other burgesses as respected the joint enjoyment of political rights was in the one case -de jure-, in the other only -de facto-, the second form of inferiority was for that very reason worse to bear and worse to throw off than the first.

Attempts to throw it off were, as a matter of course, not wanting. The opposition rested on the support of the public assembly, as the nobility did on the senate: in order to understand the opposition, we must first describe the Roman burgess- body during this period as regards its spirit and its position in the commonwealth.

Character of the Roman Burgess-Body

Whatever could be demanded of an assembly of burgesses like the Roman, which was not the moving spring, but the firm foundation, of the whole machinery--a sure perception of the common good, a sagacious deference towards the right leader, a steadfast spirit in prosperous and evil days, and, above all, the capacity of sacrificing the individual for the general welfare and the comfort of the present for the advantage of the future--all these qualities the Roman community exhibited in so high a degree that, when we look to its conduct as a whole, all censure is lost in reverent admiration. Even now good sense and discretion still thoroughly predominated.

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