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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 41

The condemned resorted to the province which he was alleged to have plundered, and there, welcomed by all the communities with honorary deputations, and praised and beloved during his lifetime, he spent in literary leisure his remaining days. And this disgraceful condemnation, while perhaps the worst, was by no means the only case of the sort. The senatorial party was exasperated, not so much perhaps by such abuse of justice in the case of men of stainless walk but of new nobility, as by the fact that the purest nobility no longer sufficed to cover possible stains on its honour.

Scarcely was Rufus out of the country, when the most respected of all aristocrats, for twenty years the chief of the senate, Marcus Scaurus at seventy years of age was brought to trial for exactions; a sacrilege according to aristocratic notions, even if he were guilty. The office of accuser began to be exercised professionally by worthless fellows, and neither irreproachable character, nor rank, nor age longer furnished protection from the most wicked and most dangerous attacks.

The commission regarding exactions was converted from a shield of the provincials into their worst scourge; the most notorious robber escaped with impunity, if he only indulged his fellow-robbers and did not refuse to allow part of the sums exacted to reach the jury; but any attempt to respond to the equitable demands of the provincials for right and justice sufficed for condemnation.

It seemed as if the intention was to bring the Roman government into the same dependence on the controlling court, as that in which the college of judges at Carthage had formerly held the council there. The prescient expression of Gaius Gracchus was finding fearful fulfilment, that with the dagger of his law as to the jurymen the world of quality would lacerate itself.

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