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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 IV - The Rule of the Restoration


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Page 16

Administration under the Restoration - Social State of Italy

The administration, internal and external, was what was to be expected under such a government. The social ruin of Italy spread with alarming rapidity; since the aristocracy had given itself legal permission to buy out the small holders, and in its new arrogance allowed itself with growing frequency to drive them out, the farms disappeared like raindrops in the sea. That the economic oligarchy at least kept pace with the political, is shown by the opinion expressed about 650 by Lucius Marcius Philippus, a man of moderate democratic views, that there were among the whole burgesses hardly 2000 families of substantial means.

A practical commentary on this state of things was once more furnished by the servile insurrections, which during the first years of the Cimbrian war broke out annually in Italy, e. g. at Nuceria, at Capua, and in the territory of Thurii. This last conspiracy was so important that the urban praetor had to march with a legion against it and yet overcame the insurrection not by force of arms, but only by insidious treachery. It was moreover a suspicious circumstance, that the insurrection was headed not by a slave, but by the Roman knight Titus Vettius, whom his debts had driven to the insane step of manumitting his slaves and declaring himself their king (650).

The apprehensions of the government with reference to the accumulation of masses of slaves in Italy are shown by the measures of precaution respecting the gold- washings of Victumulae, which were carried on after 611 on account of the Roman government: the lessees were at first bound not to employ more than 5000 labourers, and subsequently the workings were totally stopped by decree of the senate. Under such a government as the present there was every reason in fact for fear, if, as was very possible, a Transalpine host should penetrate into Italy and summon the slaves, who were in great part of kindred lineage, to arms.

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