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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 29

New Manners

The ties of family life became relaxed with fearful rapidity. The evil of grisettes and boy-favourites spread like a pestilence, and, as matters stood, it was not possible to take any material steps in the way of legislation against it. The high tax, which Cato as censor (570) laid on this most abominable species of slaves kept for luxury, would not be of much moment, and besides fell practically into disuse a year or two afterwards along with the property-tax generally. Celibacy--as to which grave complaints were made as early as 520--and divorces naturally increased in proportion.

Horrible crimes were perpetrated in the bosom of families of the highest rank; for instance, the consul Gaius Calpurnius Piso was poisoned by his wife and his stepson, in order to occasion a supplementary election to the consulship and so to procure the supreme magistracy for the latter --a plot which was successful (574). Moreover the emancipation of women began. According to old custom the married woman was subject in law to the marital power which was parallel with the paternal, and the unmarried woman to the guardianship of her nearest male -agnati-, which fell little short of the paternal power; the wife had no property of her own, the fatherless virgin and the widow had at any rate no right of management.

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