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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 33

In like manner, although he had not chosen to take part in boyish impeachments, he himself in his mature years put upon their trial several of the guiltiest of the aristocracy. In a like spirit, when commanding before Carthage and Numantia, he drove forth the women and priests to the gates of the camp, and subjected the rabble of soldiers once more to the iron yoke of the old military discipline; and when censor (612), he cleared away the smooth-chinned coxcombs among the world of quality and in earnest language urged the citizens to adhere more faithfully to the honest customs of their fathers. But no one, and least of all he himself, could fail to see that increased stringency in the administration of justice and isolated interference were not even first steps towards the healing of the organic evils under which the state laboured. These Scipio did not touch.

Gaius Laelius (consul in 614), Scipio's elder friend and his political instructor and confidant, had conceived the plan of proposing the resumption of the Italian domain-land which had not been given away but had been temporarily occupied, and of giving relief by its distribution to the visibly decaying Italian farmers; but he desisted from the project when he saw what a storm he was going to raise, and was thenceforth named the "Judicious." Scipio was of the same opinion. He was fully persuaded of the greatness of the evil, and with a courage deserving of honour he without respect of persons remorselessly assailed it and carried his point, where he risked himself alone; but he was also persuaded that the country could only be relieved at the price of a revolution similar to that which in the fourth and fifth centuries had sprung out of the question of reform, and, rightly or wrongly, the remedy seemed to him worse than the disease.

So with the small circle of his friends he held a middle position between the aristocrats, who never forgave him for his advocacy of the Cassian law, and the democrats, whom he neither satisfied nor wished to satisfy; solitary during his life, praised after his death by both parties, now as the champion of the aristocracy, now as the promoter of reform. Down to his time the censors on laying down their office had called upon the gods to grant greater power and glory to the state: the censor Scipio prayed that they might deign to preserve the state. His whole confession of faith lies in that painful exclamation.

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