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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 35

Despondency of the Romans

The temper of the burgesses was singularly depressed. After the battle on the Tolenus, when the dead bodies of the consul and the numerous citizens of note who had fallen with him were brought back from the neighbouring battlefield to the capital and were buried there; when the magistrates in token of public mourning laid aside their purple and insignia; when the government issued orders to the inhabitants of the capital to arm en masse; not a few had resigned themselves to despair and given up all as lost.

It is true that the worst despondency had somewhat abated after the victories achieved by Caesar at Acerrae and by Strabo in Picenum: on the news of the former the wardress in the capital had been once more exchanged for the dress of the citizen, on the news of the second the signs of public mourning had been laid aside; but it was not doubtful that on the whole the Romans had been worsted in this passage of arms: and above all the senate and the burgesses had lost the spirit, which had formerly borne them to victory through all the crises of the Hannibalic war.

They still doubtless began war with the same defiant arrogance as then, but they knew not how to end it as they had then done; rigid obstinacy, tenacious persistence had given place to a remiss and cowardly disposition. Already after the first year of war their outward and inward policy became suddenly changed, and betook itself to compromise. There is no doubt that in this they did the wisest thing which could be done; not however because, compelled by the immediate force of arms, they could not avoid acquiescing in disadvantageous conditions, but because the subject-matter of dispute--the perpetuation of the political precedence of the Romans over the other Italians--was injurious rather than beneficial to the commonwealth itself. It sometimes happens in public life that one error compensates another; in this case cowardice in some measure remedied the mischief which obstinacy had incurred.

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