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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 XII - The Management of Land and of Capital


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Page 20

Decay of the Farmers

When the small holdings ceased to yield any substantial clear return, the farmers were irretrievably ruined, and the more so that they gradually, although more slowly than the other classes, lost the moral tone and frugal habits of the earlier ages of the republic It was merely a question of time, how rapidly the hides of the Italian farmers would, by purchase or by resignation, become merged in the larger estates.

Culture of Oil and Wine, and Rearing of Cattle

The landlord was better able to maintain himself than the farmer. The former produced at a cheaper rate than the latter, when, instead of letting his land according to the older system to petty temporary lessees, he caused it according to the newer system to be cultivated by his slaves. Accordingly, where this course had not been adopted even at an earlier period,(12) the competition of Sicilian slave-corn compelled the Italian landlord to follow it, and to have the work performed by slaves without wife or child instead of families of free labourers.

12. II. VIII. Farming of Estates

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