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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 XI - The Commonwealth and its Economy


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Page 20

What the Roman community levied from its transmarine subjects was, as a rule, re- expended for the military security of the transmarine possessions; and if these Roman imposts fell more heavily on those who paid them than the earlier taxation, in so far as they were in great part expended abroad, the substitution, on the other hand, of a single ruler and a centralized military administration for the many petty rulers and armies involved a very considerable financial saving. It is true, however, that this principle of a previous better age came from the very first to be infringed and mutilated by the numerous exceptions which were allowed to prevail.

The ground- tenth levied by Hiero and Carthage in Sicily went far beyond the amount of an annual war-contributioa With justice moreover Scipio Aemilianus says in Cicero, that it was unbecoming for the Roman burgess-body to be at the same time the ruler and the tax-gatherer of the nations. The appropriation of the customs-dues was not compatible with the principle of disinterested hegemony, and the high rates of the customs as well as the vexatious mode of levying them were not fitted to allay the sense of the injustice thereby inflicted.

Even as early probably as this period the name of publican became synonymous among the eastern peoples with that of rogue and robber: no burden contributed so much as this to make the Roman name offensive and odious especially in the east. But when Gaius Gracchus and those who called themselves the "popular party" in Rome came to the helm, political sovereignty was declared in plain terms to be a right which entitled every one who shared in it to a number of bushels of corn, the hegemony was converted into a direct ownership of the soil, and the most complete system of making the most of that ownership was not only introduced but with shameless candour legally justified and proclaimed. It was certainly not a mere accident, that the hardest lot in this respect fell precisely to the two least warlike provinces, Sicily and Asia.

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