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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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Page 26

Violent Proceedings in the Voting

They went to work accordingly. The corn and colonial laws encountered, as was to be expected, the keenest opposition from the government. They proved in the senate by striking figures, that the former must make the public treasury bankrupt; Saturninus did not trouble himself about that. They brought tribunician intercession to bear against both laws; Saturninus ordered the voting to go on. They informed the magistrates presiding at the voting that a peal of thunder had been heard, a portent by which according to ancient belief the gods enjoined the dismissal of the public assembly; Saturninus remarked to the messengers that the senate would do well to keep quiet, otherwise the thunder might very easily be followed by hail. Lastly the urban quaestor, Quintus Caepio, the son, it may be presumed, of the general condemned three years before,(8) and like his father a vehement antagonist of the popular party, with a band of devoted partisans dispersed the comitia by violence.

8. All indications point to this conclusion. The elder Quintus Caepio was consul in 648, the younger quaestor in 651 or 654, the former consequently was born about or before 605, the latter about 624 or 627. The fact that the former died without leaving sons (Strabo, iv. 188) is not inconsistent with this view, for the younger Caepio fell in 664, and the elder, who ended his life in exile at Smyrna, may very well have survived him.

But the tough soldiers of Marius, who had flocked in crowds to Rome to vote on this occasion, quickly rallied and dispersed the city bands, and on the voting ground thus reconquered the vote on the Appuleian laws was successfully brought to an end. The scandal was grievous; but when it came to the question whether the senate would comply with the clause of the law that within five days after its passing every senator should on pain of forfeiting his senatorial seat take an oath faithfully to observe it, all the senators took the oath with the single exception of Quintus Metellus, who preferred to go into exile. Marius and Saturninus were not displeased to see the best general and the ablest man among the opposing party removed from the state by voluntary banishment.

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