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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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The ambiguous attitude of Marius became notorious in the question of the oath. At first he seemed as though he would himself refuse the oath required by the Appuleian laws on account of the informalities that had occurred at their passing, and then swore it with the reservation, "so far as the laws were really valid"; a reservation which annulled the oath itself, and which of course all the senators likewise adopted in swearing, so that by this mode of taking the oath the validity of the laws was not secured, but on the contrary was for the first time really called in question.

The consequences of this behaviour--stupid beyond parallel--on the part of the celebrated general soon developed themselves. Saturninus and Glaucia had not undertaken the revolution and procured for Marius the supremacy of the state, in order that they might be disowned and sacrificed by him; if Glaucia, the favourite jester of the people, had hitherto lavished on Marius the gayest flowers of his jovial eloquence, the garlands which he now wove for him were by no means redolent of roses and violets.

A total rupture took place, by which both parties were lost; for Marius had not a footing sufficiently firm singly to maintain the colonial law which he had himself called in question and to possess himself of the position which it assigned to him, nor were Saturninus and Glaucia in a condition to continue on their own account the work which Marius had begun.

Saturninus Isolated - Saturninus Assailed and Overpowered

But the two demagogues were so compromised that they could not recede; they had no alternative save to resign their offices in the usual way and thereby to deliver themselves with their hands bound to their exasperated opponents, or now to grasp the sceptre for themselves, although they felt that they could not bear its weight. They resolved on the latter course; Saturninus would come forward once more as a candidate for the tribunate of the people for 655, Glaucia, although praetor and not eligible for the consulship till two years had elapsed, would become a candidate for the latter.

In fact the tribunician elections were decided entirely to their mind, and the attempt of Marius to prevent the spurious Tiberius Gracchus from soliciting the tribuneship served only to show the celebrated man what was now the worth of his popularity; the multitude broke the doors of the prison in which Gracchus was confined, bore him in triumph through the streets, and elected him by a great majority as their tribune.

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