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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 39

There is scarce a structural idea in Roman monarchy, which is not traceable to Gaius Gracchus. From him proceeded the maxim--founded doubtless in a certain sense in the nature of the old traditional laws of war, but yet, in the extension and practical application now given to it, foreign to the older state-law--that all the land of the subject communities was to be regarded as the private property of the state; a maxim, which was primarily employed to vindicate the right of the state to tax that land at pleasure, as was the case in Asia, or to apply it for the institution of colonies, as was done in Africa, and which became afterwards a fundamental principle of law under the empire.

From him proceeded the tactics, whereby demagogues and tyrants, leaning for support on material interests, break down the governing Aristocracy, but subsequently legitimize the change of constitution by substituting a strict and efficient administration for the previous misgovernment. To him, in particular, are traceable the first steps towards such a reconciliation between Rome and the provinces as the establishment of monarchy could not but bring in its train; the attempt to rebuild Carthage destroyed by Italian rivalry and generally to open the way for Italian emigration towards the provinces, formed the first link in the long chain of that momentous and beneficial course of action.

Right and wrong, fortune and misfortune were so inextricably blended in this singular man and in this marvellous political constellation, that it may well beseem history in this case--though it beseems her but seldom-- to reserve her judgment.

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