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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 80

Interference of the Community with the Finances

This joint action of the burgesses in governing and in commanding was fraught in a high degree with peril. But still more dangerous was their interference with the finances of the state; not only because any attack on the oldest and most important right of the government --the exclusive administration of the public property--struck at the root of the power of the senate, but because the placing of the most important business of this nature--the distribution of the public domains--in the hands of the primary assemblies of the burgesses necessarily dug the grave of the republic.

To allow the primary assembly to decree the transference of public property without limit to its own pocket is not only wrong, but is the beginning of the end; it demoralizes the best-disposed citizens, and gives to the proposer a power incompatible with a free commonwealth. Salutary as was the distribution of the public land, and doubly blameable as was the senate accordingly for omitting to cut off this most dangerous of all weapons of agitation by voluntarily distributing the occupied lands, yet Gaius Flaminius, when he came to the burgesses in 522 with the proposal to distribute the domains of Picenum, undoubtedly injured the commonwealth more by the means than he benefited it by the end.

Spurius Cassius had doubtless two hundred and fifty years earlier proposed the same thing;(70) but the two measures, closely as they coincided in the letter, were yet wholly different, inasmuch as Cassius submitted a matter affecting the community to that community while it was in vigour and self-governing, whereas Flaminius submitted a question of state to the primary assembly of a great empire.

70. Cf. II. II. Agrarian Law of Spurius Cassius

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