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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 55

The former was an urban community, which could meet together and act together; the latter was a great state, as to which the attempt to unite those belonging to it in one and the same primary assembly, and to leave to this assembly the decision, yielded a result as lamentable as it was ridiculous.(36)

36. Cf. III. XI. Rise of A City Rabble

The fundamental defect of the policy of antiquity --that it never fully advanced from the urban form of constitution to that of a state or, which is the same thing, from the system of primary assemblies to a parliamentary system--in this case avenged itself. The sovereign assembly of Rome was what the sovereign assembly in England would be, if instead of sending representatives all the electors of England should meet together as a parliament--an unwieldy mass, wildly agitated by all interests and all passions, in which intelligence was totally lost; a body, which was neither able to take a comprehensive view of things nor even to form a resolution of its own; a body above all, in which, saving in rare exceptional cases, a couple of hundred or thousand individuals accidentally picked up from the streets of the capital acted and voted in name of the burgesses.

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