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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 76


But, as this period witnessed the rise of a rabble by the side of the burgesses, so it witnessed also the emergence of a demagogism that flattered the populace alongside of the respectable and useful party of opposition. Cato was already acquainted with men who made a trade of demagogism; who had a morbid propensity for speechifying, as others had for drinking or for sleeping; who hired listeners, if they could find no willing audience otherwise; and whom people heard as they heard the market-crier, without listening to their words or, in the event of needing help, entrusting themselves to their hands.

In his caustic fashion the old man describes these fops formed after the model of the Greek talkers of the agora, dealing in jests and witticisms, singing and dancing, ready for anything; such an one was, in his opinion, good for nothing but to exhibit himself as harlequin in a procession and to bandy talk with the public--he would sell his talk or his silence for a bit of bread. In reality these demagogues were the worst enemies of reform.

While the reformers insisted above all things and in every direction on moral amendment, demagogism preferred to insist on the limitation of the powers of the government and the extension of those of the burgesses.

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