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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 X - The Sullan Constitution


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As a matter of course, the proposal was adopted without opposition (Nov. 672); and now the new master of the state, who hitherto had as proconsul avoided entering the capital, appeared for the first time within the walls of Rome. This new office derived its name from the dictatorship, which had been practically abolished since the Hannibalic war;(1) but, as besides his armed retinue he was preceded by twice as many lictors as the dictator of earlier times, this new "dictatorship for the making of laws and the regulation of the commonwealth," as its official title ran, was in fact altogether different from the earlier magistracy which had been limited in point of duration and of powers, had not excluded appeal to the burgesses, and had not annulled the ordinary magistracy.

1. Cf. III. XI. Abolition of the Dictatorship

It much more resembled that of the -decemviri legibus scribundis-, who likewise came forward as an extraordinary government with unlimited fulness of powers superseding the ordinary magistracy, and practically at least administered their office as one which was unlimited in point of time. Or, we should rather say, this new office, with its absolute power based on a decree of the people and restrained by no set term or colleague, was no other than the old monarchy, which in fact just rested on the free engagement of the burgesses to obey one of their number as absolute lord.

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