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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


IV. The Revolution

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 II - The Reform Movement and Tiberius Gracchus


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Page 14

It is true that the method was different. Formerly the small farmer had been ruined by advances of money, which practically reduced him to be the steward of his creditor; now he was crushed by the competition of transmarine, and especially of slave-grown, corn. The capitalists kept pace with the times; capital, while waging war against labour or in other words against the liberty of the person, of course, as it had always done, under the strictest form of law, waged it no longer in the unseemly fashion which converted the free man on account of debt into a slave, but, throughout, with slaves legitimately bought and paid; the former usurer of the capital appeared in a shape conformable to the times as the owner of industrial plantations.

But the ultimate result was in both cases the same--the depreciation of the Italian farms; the supplanting of the petty husbandry, first in a part of the provinces and then in Italy, by the farming of large estates; the prevailing tendency to devote the latter in Italy to the rearing of cattle and the culture of the olive and vine; finally, the replacing of the free labourers in the provinces as in Italy by slaves. Just as the nobility was more dangerous than the patriciate, because the former could not, like the latter, be set aside by a change of the constitution; so this new power of capital was more dangerous than that of the fourth and fifth centuries, because nothing was to be done against it by changes in the law of the land.

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