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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 24

These were the results of the police system for securing order, as it was handled by the Roman senate and its officials in Italy and the provinces. While the task of getting quit of the proletariate demands and only too often transcends the whole power and wisdom of a government, its repression by measures of police on the other hand is for any larger commonwealth comparatively easy. It would be well with states, if the unpropertied masses threatened them with no other danger than that with which they are menaced by bears and wolves; only the timid and those who trade upon the silly fears of the multitude prophesy the destruction of civil order through servile revolts or insurrections of the proletariate.

But even to this easier task of restraining the oppressed masses the Roman government was by no means equal, notwithstanding the profound peace and the inexhaustible resources of the state. This was a sign of its weakness; but not of its weakness alone. By law the Roman governor was bound to keep the public roads clear and to have the robbers who were caught, if they were slaves, crucified; and naturally, for slavery is not possible without a reign of terror.

At this period in Sicily a razzia was occasionally doubtless set on foot by the governor, when the roads became too insecure; but, in order not to disoblige the Italian planters, the captured robbers were ordinarily given up by the authorities to their masters to be punished at their discretion; and those masters were frugal people who, if their slave-herdsmen asked clothes, replied with stripes and with the inquiry whether travellers journeyed through the land naked. The consequence of such connivance accordingly was, that OH the subjugation of the slave-revolt the consul Publius Rupilius ordered all that came into his hands alive--it is said upwards of 20,000 men--to be crucified. It was in truth no longer possible to spare capital.

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