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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 11

The Italians and Drusus

Amidst the vehement ferment, which this law and the numerous processes arising out of it called forth throughout Italy, the star of hope once more appeared to arise for the Italians in the person of Marcus Drusus. That which had been deemed almost impossible--that a conservative should take up the reforming ideas of the Gracchi, and should become the champion of equal rights for the Italians--had nevertheless occurred; a man of the high aristocracy had resolved to emancipate the Italians from the Sicilian Straits to the Alps and the government at one and the same time, and to apply all his earnest zeal, all his trusty devotedness to these generous plans of reform. Whether he actually, as was reported, placed himself at the head of a secret league, whose threads ramified through Italy and whose members bound themselves by an oath(8) to stand by each other for Drusus and for the common cause, cannot be ascertained; but, even if he did not lend himself to acts so dangerous and in fact unwarrantable for a Roman magistrate, yet it is certain that he did not keep to mere general promises, and that dangerous connections were formed in his name, although perhaps without his consent and against his will.

8. The form of oath is preserved (in Diodor. Vat. p. 116); it runs thus: "I swear by the Capitoline Jupiter and by the Roman Vesta and by the hereditary Mars and by the generative Sun and by the nourishing Earth and by the divine founders and enlargers (the Penates) of the City of Rome, that he shall be my friend and he shall be my foe who is friend or foe to Drusus; also that I will spare neither mine own life nor the life of my children or of my parents, except in so far as it is for the good of Drusus and those who share this oath. But if I should become a burgess by the law of Drusus, I will esteem Rome as my home and Drusus as the greatest of my benefactors.

I shall tender this oath to as many of my fellow-citizens as I can; and if I swear truly, may it fare with me well; if I swear falsely, may it fare with me ill." But we shall do well to employ this account with caution; it is derived either from the speeches delivered against Drusus by Philippus (which seems to be indicated by the absurd title "oath of Philippus" prefixed by the extractor of the formula) or at best from the documents of criminal procedure subsequently drawn up respecting this conspiracy in Rome; and even on the latter hypothesis it remains questionable, whether this form of oath was elicited from the accused or imputed to them in the inquiry.

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