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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 VII - The Revolt of the Italian Subjects, and the Sulpician Revolution


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Page 10

The Italians and the Oligarchy - The Licinio-Mucian Law

Above all, the recent occurrences had clearly shown how vain was the expectation of the Italians that their claims would be attended to by Rome. So long as the demands of the Italians were mixed up with those of the revolutionary party and had in the hands of the latter been thwarted by the folly of the masses, they might still resign themselves to the belief that the oligarchy had been hostile merely to the proposers, not to the proposal itself, and that there was still a possibility that the mere intelligent senate would accept a measure which was compatible with the nature of the oligarchy and salutary for the state. But the recent years, in which the senate once more ruled almost absolutely, had shed only too disagreeable a light on the designs of the Roman oligarchy also.

Instead of the expected modifications, there was issued in 659 a consular law which most strictly prohibited the non-burgesses from laying claim to the franchise and threatened transgressors with trial and punishment--a law which threw back a large number of most respectable persons who were deeply interested in the question of equalization from the ranks of Romans into those of Italians, and which in point of indisputable legality and of political folly stands completely on a parallel with that famous act which laid the foundation for the separation of North America from the mother-country; in fact it became, just like that act, the proximate cause of the civil war.

It was only so much the worse, that the authors of this law by no means belonged to the obstinate and incorrigible Optimates; they were no other than the sagacious and universally honoured Quintus Scaevola, destined, like George Grenville, by nature to be a jurist and by fate to be a statesman--who by his equally honourable and pernicious rectitude inflamed more than any one else first the war between senate and equites, and then that between Romans and Italians--and the orator Lucius Crassus, the friend and ally of Drusus and altogether one of the most moderate and judicious of the Optimates.

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