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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 53

Systematic Corruption of the Multitude - Distributions of Grain

But not only did these natural causes co-operate to produce a metropolitan rabble: neither the nobility nor the demagogues, moreover, can be acquitted from the reproach of having systematically nursed its growth, and of having undermined, so far as in them lay, the old public spirit by flattery of the people and things still worse. The electors as a body were still too respectable to admit of direct electoral corruption showing itself on a great scale; but the favour of those entitled to vote was indirectly courted by methods far from commendable.

The old obligation of the magistrates, particularly of the aediles, to see that corn could be procured at a moderate price and to superintend the games, began to degenerate into the state of things which at length gave rise to the horrible cry of the city populace under the Empire, "Bread for nothing and games for ever!" Large supplies of grain, cither placed by the provincial governors at the disposal of the Roman market officials, or delivered at Rome free of cost by the provinces themselves for the purpose of procuring favour with particular Roman magistrates, enabled the aediles, from the middle of the sixth century, to furnish grain to the population of the capital at very low prices. "It was no wonder," Cato considered, "that the burgesses no longer listened to good advice--the belly forsooth had no ears."

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