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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 35

At the same time domestic festivals were multiplied. During the second Punic war there were introduced, among people of quality, the already-mentioned banquetings on the anniversary of the entrance of the Mother of the Gods (after 550), and, among the lower orders, the similar Saturnalia (after 537), both under the influence of the powers henceforth closely allied--the foreign priest and the foreign cook. A very near approach was made to that ideal condition in which every idler should know where he might kill time every day; and this in a commonwealth where formerly action had been with all and sundry the very object of existence, and idle enjoyment had been proscribed by custom as well as by law!

The bad and demoralizing elements in these festal observances, moreover, daily acquired greater ascendency. It is true that still as formerly the chariot races formed the brilliant finale of the national festivals; and a poet of this period describes very vividly the straining expectancy with which the eyes of the multitude were fastened on the consul, when he was on the point of giving the signal for the chariots to start. But the former amusements no longer sufficed; there was a craving for new and more varied spectacles. Greek athletes now made their appearance (for the first time in 568) alongside of the native wrestlers and boxers.

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