It was the final result of the revolution--and both parties, the
nominally conservative as well as the democratic party, had co-
operated towards it and concurred in it--that of this venerable
structure, which at the beginning of the present epoch, though full
of chinks and tottering, still stood erect, not one stone was at
its close left upon another.
The holder of sovereign power was
now either a single man, or a close oligarchy--now of rank, now
of riches. The burgesses had lost all legitimate share in the
government. The magistrates were instruments without independence
in the hands of the holder of power for the time being. The urban
community of Rome had broken down by its unnatural enlargement.
The Italian confederacy had been merged in the urban community.
The body of extra-Italian allies was in full course of being
converted into a body of subjects. The whole organic classification
of the Roman commonwealth had gone to wreck, and nothing was left
but a crude mass of more or less disparate elements.