Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

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


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 25

First of all, however, if the law passed and Marius was called to the independent carrying out of these immense schemes of conquest and assignation, he would become practically--until those plans should be realized or rather, considering their indefinite and unlimited character, for his lifetime--monarch of Rome; with which view it may be presumed that Marius intended to have his consulship annually renewed, like the tribunate of Gracchus. But, amidst the agreement of the political positions marked out for the younger Gracchus and for Marius in all other essential particulars, there was yet a very material distinction between the land-assigning tribune and the land-assigning consul in the fact, that the former was to occupy a purely civil position, the latter a military position as well; a distinction, which partly but by no means solely arose out of the personal circumstances under which the two men had risen to the head of the state.

While such was the nature of the aim which Marius and his comrades had proposed to themselves, the next question related to the means by which they purposed to break down the resistance--which might be anticipated to be obstinate--of the government party. Gaius Gracchus had fought his battles with the aid of the capitalist class and the proletariate. His successors did not neglect to make advances likewise to these. The equites were not only left in possession of the tribunals, but their power as jurymen was considerably increased, partly by a stricter ordinance regarding the standing commission--especially important to the merchants--as to extortions on the part of the public magistrates in the provinces, which Glaucia carried probably in this year, partly by the special tribunal, appointed doubtless as early as 651 on the proposal of Saturninus, respecting the embezzlements and other official malversations that had occurred during the Cimbrian movement in Gaul.

For the benefit, moreover, of the proletariate of the capital the sum below cost price, which hitherto had to be paid on occasion of the distributions of grain for the -modius-, was lowered from 6 1/3 -asses- to a mere nominal charge of 5/6 of an -as-. But although they did not despise the alliance with the equites and the proletariate of the capital, the real power by which the confederates enforced their measures lay not in these, but in the discharged soldiers of the Marian army, who for that very reason had been provided for in the colonial laws themselves after so extravagant a fashion. In this also was evinced the predominating military character, which forms the chief distinction between this attempt at revolution and that which preceded it.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :