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 XII - The Management of Land and of Capital


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 39

Moneyed Aristocracy

In consequence of the one-sided prominence assigned to capital in the Roman economy, the evils inseparable from a pure capitalist system could not fail to appear.

Civil equality, which had already received a fatal wound through the rise of the ruling order of lords, suffered an equally severe blow in consequence of the line of social demarcation becoming more and more distinctly drawn between the rich and the poor. Nothing more effectually promoted this separation in a downward direction than the already-mentioned rule--apparently a matter of indifference, but in reality involving the utmost arrogance and insolence on the part of the capitalists--that it was disgraceful to take money for work; a wall of partition was thus raised not merely between the common day- labourer or artisan and the respectable landlord or manufacturer, but also between the soldier or subaltern and the military tribune, and between the clerk or messenger and the magistrate.

In an upward direction a similar barrier was raised by the Claudian law suggested by Gaius Flaminius (shortly before 536), which prohibited senators and senators' sons from possessing sea-going vessels except for the transport of the produce of their estates, and probably also from participating in public contracts--forbidding them generally from carrying on whatever the Romans included under the head of "speculation" (-quaestus-).(28)

28. Livy (xxi. 63; comp. Cic. Verr. v. 18, 45) mentions only the enactment as to the sea-going vessels; but Asconius (in Or. in toga cand. p. 94, Orell.) and Dio. (lv. 10, 5) state that the senator was also forbidden by law to undertake state-contracts (-redemptiones-); and, as according to Livy "all speculation was considered unseemly for a senator," the Claudian law probably reached further than he states.

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 :