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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 31


Luxury prevailed more and more in dress, ornaments, and furniture, in buildings and at table. Especially after the expedition to Asia Minor in 564 Asiatico-Greek luxury, such as prevailed at Ephesus and Alexandria, transferred its empty refinement and its dealing in trifles, destructive alike of money, time, and pleasure, to Rome. Here too women took the lead: in spite of the zealous invective of Cato they managed to procure the abolition, after the peace with Cartilage (559), of the decree of the people passed soon after the battle of Cannae (539), which forbade them to use gold ornaments, variegated dresses, or chariots; no course was left to their zealous antagonist but to impose a high tax on those articles (570).

A multitude of new and for the most part frivolous articles--silver plate elegantly figured, table-couches with bronze mounting, Attalic dresses as they were called, and carpets of rich gold brocade--now found their way to Rome. Above all, this new luxury appeared in the appliances of the table. Hitherto without exception the Romans had only partaken of hot dishes once a day; now hot dishes were not unfrequently produced at the second meal (-prandium-), and for the principal meal the two courses formerly in use no longer sufficed. Hitherto the women of the household had themselves attended to the baking of bread and cooking; and it was only on occasion of entertainments that a professional cook was specially hired, who in that case superintended alike the cooking and the baking.

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