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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 25

In the present epoch the mercantile aristocracy began, under the name of the -equites-, to exercise a decisive influence in political affairs. This appellation, which originally belonged only to the burgess-cavalry on service, came gradually to be transferred, at any rate in ordinary use, to all those who, as possessors of an estate of at least 400,000 sesterces, were liable to cavalry service in general, and thus comprehended the whole of the upper society, senatorial and non-senatorial, in Rome. But not long before the time of Gaius Gracchus the law had declared a seat in the senate incompatible with service in the cavalry,(17) and the senators were thus eliminated from those qualified to be equites; and accordingly the equestrian order, taken as a whole, might be regarded as representing the aristocracy of speculators in contradistinction to the senate.

17. Cf. IV. II. Exclusion of the Senators from the Equestrian Centuries

Nevertheless those members of senatorial families who had not entered the senate, especially the younger members, did not cease to serve as equites and consequently to bear the name; and, in fact, the burgess-cavalry properly so called--that is, the eighteen equestrian centuries--in consequence of being made up by the censors continued to be chiefly filled up from the young senatorial aristocracy.(18)

18. Cf. III. XI. The Censorship A Prop of the Nobility

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