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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 56

Those who sanctioned the new festivals perhaps excused themselves in their own eyes by the reflection that they were not at any rate a burden on the public purse; but it would have been in reality far less injurious to burden the public budget with a number of useless expenses, than to allow the providing of an amusement for the people to become practically a qualification for holding the highest office in the state.

The future candidates for the consulship soon entered into a mutual rivalry in their expenditure on these games, which incredibly increased their cost; and, as may well be conceived, it did no harm if the consul expectant gave, over and above this as it were legal contribution, a voluntary "performance" (-munus-), a gladiatorial show at his own expense for the public benefit.

The splendour of the games became gradually the standard by which the electors measured the fitness of the candidates for the consulship. The nobility had, in truth, to pay dear for their honours--a gladiatorial show on a respectable scale cost 720,000 sesterces (7200 pounds)--but they paid willingly, since by this means they absolutely precluded men who were not wealthy from a political career.

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