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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


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Page 24

Elevation of the Equestrian Order

While Gracchus thus leaned on the support of the multitude, which partly expected, partly received from him a material improvement of its position, he laboured with equal energy at the ruin of the aristocracy. Perceiving clearly how insecure was the rule of the head of the state built merely on the proletariate, he applied himself above all to split the aristocracy and to draw a part of it over to his interests. The elements of such a rupture were already in existence. The aristocracy of the rich, which had risen as one man against Tiberius Gracchus, consisted in fact of two essentially dissimilar bodies, which may be in some measure compared to the peerage and the city aristocracy of England.

The one embraced the practically closed circle of the governing senatorial families who kept aloof from direct speculation and invested their immense capital partly in landed property, partly as sleeping partners in the great associations. The core of the second class was composed of the speculators, who, as managers of these companies, or on their own account, conducted the large mercantile and pecuniary transactions throughout the range of the Roman hegemony. We have already shown(16) how the latter class, especially in the course of the sixth century, gradually took its place by the side of the senatorial aristocracy, and how the legal exclusion of the senators from mercantile pursuits by the Claudian enactment, suggested by Gaius Flaminius the precursor of the Gracchi, drew an outward line of demarcation between the senators and the mercantile and moneyed men.

16. Cf. III. XII. Moneyed Aristocracy

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