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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 VI - The Attempt of Marius at Revolution and the Attempt of Drusus at Reform


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In the same spirit the multitude exulted in the presence of Gaius Marius; how should it not? He, if any one, seemed the right man--he was at any rate the first general and the most popular name of his time, confessedly brave and upright, and recommended as regenerator of the state by his very position aloof from the proceedings of party--how should not the people, how should not he himself, have held that he was so! Public opinion as decidedly as possible favoured the opposition. It was a significant indication of this, that the proposal to have the vacant stalls in the chief priestly colleges filled up by the burgesses instead of the colleges themselves--which the government had frustrated in the comitia in 609 by the suggestion of religious scruples--was carried in 650 by Gnaeus Domitius without the senate having been able even to venture a serious resistance. On the whole it seemed as if nothing was wanted but a chief, who should give to the opposition a firm rallying point and a practical aim; and this was now found in Marius.

For the execution of his task two methods of operation offered themselves; Marius might attempt to overthrow the oligarchy either as -imperator- at the head of the army, or in the mode prescribed by the constitution for constitutional changes: his own past career pointed to the former course, the precedent of Gracchus to the latter. It is easy to understand why he did not adopt the former plan, perhaps did not even think of the possibility of adopting it.

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