Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

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 81

Nullity of the Comitia

Not the party of the government only, but the party of reform also, very properly regarded the military, executive, and financial government as the legitimate domain of the senate, and carefully abstained from making full use of, to say nothing of augmenting, the formal power vested in primary assemblies that were inwardly doomed to inevitable dissolution. Never even in the most limited monarchy was a part so completely null assigned to the monarch as was allotted to the sovereign Roman people: this was no doubt in more than one respect to be regretted, but it was, owing to the existing state of the comitial machine, even in the view of the friends of reform a matter of necessity.

For this reason Cato and those who shared his views never submitted to the burgesses a question, which trenched on government strictly so called; and never, directly or indirectly, by decree of the burgesses extorted from the senate the political or financial measures which they wished, such as the declaration of war against Carthage and the assignations of land. The government of the senate might be bad; the primary assemblies could not govern at all. Not that an evil-disposed majority predominated in them; on the contrary the counsel of a man of standing, the loud call of honour, and the louder call of necessity were still, as a rule, listened to in the comitia, and averted the most injurious and disgraceful results.

The burgesses, before whom Marcellus pleaded his cause, ignominiously dismissed his accuser, and elected the accused as consul for the following year: they suffered themselves also to be persuaded of the necessity of the war against Philip, terminated the war against Perseus by the election of Paullus, and accorded to the latter his well-deserved triumph. But in order to such elections and such decrees there was needed some special stimulus; in general the mass having no will of its own followed the first impulse, and folly or accident dictated the decision.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :