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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 XIII - Faith and Manners


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 22

The well-known question, as to how a priest could contrive to suppress laughter when he met his colleague, originated with Cato, and was primarily applied to the Etruscan -haruspex-. Much in the same spirit Ennius censures in true Euripidean style the mendicant soothsayers and their adherents:

-Sed superstitiosi vates impudentesque arioli,
Aut inertes aut insani aut quibus egestas imperat,
Qui sibi semitam non sapiunt, alteri monstrant viam,
Quibus divitias pollicentur, ab eis drachumam ipsi petunt.-

But in such times reason from the first plays a losing game against unreason. The government, no doubt, interfered; the pious impostors were punished and expelled by the police; every foreign worship not specially sanctioned was forbidden; even the consulting of the comparatively innocent lot-oracle of Praeneste was officially prohibited in 512; and, as we have already said, those who took part in the Bacchanalia were rigorously prosecuted. But, when once men's heads are thoroughly turned, no command of the higher authorities avails to set them right again.

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